clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Mexico Vs. Paraguay: 3-1, Mexico Destroy Paraguay With Chicharito The Star Of The Show

Getty Images

Mexico produced an excellent first half display against a lacklustre Paraguay side in Oakland, California with Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez  again stealing the headlines.

Mexico played a 4-4-1-1 formation with Sinha sitting in the hole behind Hernandez. The only major surprise in the team selection was that Alfredo Talavera of Toluca made his debut in goal in favour of Guillermo Ochoa. Both Andres Guardado and Pablo Barrera also got the nod, relegating Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos to the sidelines.

The formation worked well early doors with Mexico pressurising the Paraguay side into mistakes. Playing with the defensive minded Israel Castro and Gerrado Torrado in the centre of midfield gave Mexico a platform to unleash wingers Barrera and Guarado and left Sinha free to float.

The reward for a bright start came in the 7th minute when Barrera received the ball on the right wing. The West Ham United player whipped in an early cross. Hernandez stole a yard on his marker and headed the ball across the goalkeeper and into the net.

El Tri continued to press with the movement and attacking style reminiscent of Ricardo La Volpe's time as national boss. Paraguay, World Cup quarter finalists, didn't have an answer.

The width provided by Guardado and Barrera caused problems for Paraguay and Mexico took control of the game. It seemed only a matter of time before another goal came.

When it did come on 29 minutes it was in part down to a defensive error by Paraguay's Pumas centre back Dario Veron. Rafael  Marquez, making his 100th appearance for Mexico, played the ball to Guardado inside the penalty box and when Veron failed to intercept it, Guardado found himself in the clear. 'The Little Prince' took his time to pick his spot and then calmly slotted the ball into the far corner with his left foot. It was an important moment for the Depor player who has played very little recently due to injuries.

Five minutes later and Mexico were three up. Torrado chipped the ball over the Paraguayan defense to send Ricardo Osorio (the one who made that dreadful error in the World Cup against Argentina) clear. Osorio brought it down, looked up and passed the ball along the ground to Hernandez, who duly beat the keeper from close range. The goal was an excellent example of the one-touch football new coach Jose Manuel 'Chepo' de la Torre seems to be demanding. The simplicity and speed was too much for the Paraguayan defense.

The second half was a disappointment with Mexico simply not as intense in pressurising the ball. Paraguay took the game to Mexico more and probably had the better of the half. The usual mass substitutions in friendly matches once again dulled the spectacle. For Mexico Giovani Dos Santos, Carlos Vela, Jorge Torres Nilo, Aldo de Nigrios and Paul Aguilar came on for Chicharito, Sinha, Guardado, Osorio and Barrera.

Paraguay managed a consolation goal in the 87th minute but by then the game was winding down.

Question marks remain about the long term viability of 34-year-old Sinha playing off Hernandez but with Dos Santos yet to find a level of consistency de la Torre has a problem. Nevertheless this was a top performance from Mexico.

There was no doubt who the star of the show was in Oakland. Manchester United striker Hernandez has now scored 14 goals in 22 international appearances for Mexico. In this game he was on for his first hat-trick as a professional footballer.

Chicharito fever is spreading fast.