Mexico suffered defeat at the hands of Sweden 3-0 at Yekaterinburg’s Central Stadium group stage finale at the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Wednesday.
Despite the loss Mexico advances through to the round of 16 as second place in Group F, thanks to South Korea beating Germany 2-0 in their group stage finale. El Tri struggled to make any definitive inroads against the Swedish defense and were held scoreless.
Sweden nullified Hirving Lozano’s presence throughout the game and clogged most passing lanes in the final third. Andrés Guardado had a very forgetful performance while Héctor Herrera’s class was not able to translate into goals for his teammates in the final third. Carlos Vela arguably had the best scoring opportunities in the first half but was also stifled by the Swedish defense. With Miguel Layún frustrated on the flank, Javier Hernández struggled to execute in front of goal.
On the defensive end, Héctor Moreno and Carlos Salcedo have looked like a natural pairing throughout the tournament, but lack of execution as a whole left the defense open to concede goals. Moreno conceded a penalty on a questionable call that allowed the second goal and earned him a yellow card that will force him to miss the round of 16. The flanks were a story of Jekyll and Hyde, with Jesús Gallardo putting in an industrious effort. Edson Álvarez, however, had his worst performance of the tournament. He scored an own goal in the 74th minute and was seemingly unable to shake off the psychological shock for the rest of the game. With the round of 16 quickly approaching, the América man will have to develop a short memory from a performance that reduced him to tears ruing his gaffe.
Osorio’s substitutions offered little to change the game, but Jesús Corona did flash some capability when it came to penetrating the box through the flank—perhaps something El Profe will take into consideration when putting together an initial 11 for the round of 16.
Mexico awaits the results of the Group E matches and will face the winner of the group in the round of 16.
Man of the Match: Jesús Gallardo
The Cárdenas native covered lots of ground in support of “Chucky” and won possession on a consistent basis. More impressively, he won a multitude of aerial disputes against the Swedes and fought doggedly for contested possession. His passes were timely and accurate. He managed to do all of this despite earning a yellow card in the first minute of the game.
Here are the ratings for the entire Wednesday squad:
Guillermo Ochoa: B-
Héctor Moreno: B
Edson Álvarez: C-
Jesús Gallardo: B
Miguel Layún: C-
Carlos Salcedo: B
Héctor Herrera: B
Carlos Vela: B-
Andrés Guardado: C
Hirving Lozano: B-
Javier Hernández: C+
Marco Fabián: C
Jesús Corona: C+