Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
Mexico finished undefeated in preparation for the initial stages of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. They closed their three-game preparation with a gritty 2-0 victory over Brazil, ending a ten-game winning streak for the five-time World Cup Champions.
For Mexican head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre this victory will be short lived, as he stressed that defeating Brazil is a noticeable accomplishment but the qualifiers are what really count.
"You don’t play against Brazil every time so it’s important to win this game," De la Torre said. "These are preparation games. Preparation is very different compared to actual competition. The competitive games are what count. What we want from these games is the simulation of a competitive game so the players can continue to develop."
Brazilian head coach Mario Menezes praised Mexico’s pragmatic approach and attributed his team's loss to the difference in experience between both sides.
"They prepared well and it was evident today" Menezes said. "They were prepared to take advantage of our errors and play on a tough field."
"When the match is 0-0 we needed a bit more patience and an ability to roll the ball with exercised maturity but these are young players not only in age but also in experience."
Premier League duo Giovanni Dos Santos and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez provided the scoring for Mexico. The first goal came in the 22nd minute when Dos Santos appeared to cross a ball to Hernandez. The ball glided past Brazil’s goalkeeper Rafael into the net, déjå vu of Dos Santos’ chip against the US in the 2011 Gold Cup final.
"That’s what I wanted (in reference to whether it was a cross or not)," Dos Santos said. "I saw that Chicharo was there so I tried it and thankfully it worked out."
Dos Santos continued creating havoc and his tenacity won a penalty in the 32nd minute. As Dos Santos intercepted a pass inside the Brazilian box Juan mistimed a tackle, forcing referee Silviu Petrescu to whistle for a penalty. Hernandez took the spot kick and scored his 25th goal as a Mexican international.
"This is a great confidence boost," Hernandez said. "We won’t get a head of ourselves by defeating Brazil, just like we won’t wallow in sorrow if we lose a game. We will enjoy this but starting tomorrow our focus will be on the qualifiers."
De la Torre would not comment on any changes leading into the first qualifying game but stressed that the make-up of his team would consist of the best available players.
"I can’t get a head of myself. Circumstances change and the purpose of these games was to prepare for the start of our region's qualifiers," De la Torre said. "I’ll always wait until I am sure that when it’s time to play they are feeling well so that the best eleven are on the pitch to face the opponent we have at hand. With this result we have learned that we just beat a great team."
Mexico will host Guayana on June 8th in their first qualifying game for the 2014 World Cup. Brazil will face Argentina in a friendly on June 9th in New Jersey.