Juan Mata's Spain earned a 1-0 victory over Mexico in a pre-Olympic friendly between leading medal contenders.
"Today was an important test against a team like Mexico that will compete for a medal," Juan Mata, Spain’s number 10, declared to Larguero, one of Spain’s most listened radio shows at midnight. Earlier, in front a picturesque and effusive 19,000 gaditano (a native of Cádiz) crowd in a renovated Estadio Ramón de Carranza, Mata's team had earned a 1-0 victory over Mexico.
Luis Fernando Tena’s players were facing off against Luis Milla’s U-21 2011 European champions. Spain’s strength of possession, a skill profoundly infiltrated in every player who wears the red jersey, vanquished Mexico’s chance of surprising one of the main contenders for the gold medal in London.
Spain’s goal came after a precise corner kick from Juan Mata’s boots to a sneaky Javi Martínez, who with a header put la rojita on top. José de Jesús Corona, who displayed excellent leadership and tenacity throughout the match, miscalculated the location of the ball, permitting the Athletic de Bilbao star to easily win the duel and score.
The score indicates that the match was a closed one, but that was not the case. At the end of the first half the score could have been 4-0 if it wasn’t for Corona’s excellent interventions, and Adrian’s lack of luster.
But the sensations for Mexico are still positive. Giovani dos Santos played his first minutes as a starter for the Olympic team and Héctor Herrera provided flashes of greatness (most notably as he cruised away from Javi Martínez and sent a sensational pass to Javier Aquino, who got by Jordi Alba and almost tied the match). In addition, all 18 players on the squad have now seen the field in friendlies against Great Britain and Spain.
In his blog entry titled El Tri Olímpico: promete, no garantiza, Rafael Ramos, conductor of ESPN Deportes Radio show Raza Deportiva, columnist of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com, and panelist of ESPN Deportes TV show Juego Cruzado, points out of how important the next days will be for Tena and his staff. He believes one of their main tasks will be to find an accommodation for Giovani dos Santos on the pitch which will allow the Gio-Marco duo to be more dynamic (this goal was not fulfilled against Spain). He also believes that leaving Giovani on the bench is a legitimate option.
Mexico will arrive to England with the tag Mata mentioned to the Spanish journalists of Larguero. Mexico will compete for a medal, but in order to make those words something factual, the defense has to solidify, and the communication between Giovani, Fabián, Peralta, and Aquino has to accelerate.