Mexico made official what was practically a guarantee after their first win when they defeated Bermuda and officially qualified to the knockout stages. With a 5-0 win, the result was never in doubt as Mexico completely dominated the weakest team in the group, although they made it tougher on themselves, first with some defensive mistakes in the first half and then with terrible finishing in a couple of sitters. Mexico climb to first place in the group, which will they defend on Sunday when they play the surprising Trinidad and Tobago, who also won both their games.
Mexico and Bermuda started their game in a lot better conditions than the Mexico/Jamaica game. The field was dry and sunny, although coach Marco Antonio “Chima “ Ruiz has said he worries about the heat and humidity in Florida, which looked to be present on Friday.
It took 10 minutes for Mexico to open up the scoring. A long ball fell to Efrain Alvarez, who lobbed it over the Bermudan goalkeeper who was way off his line.
Five minutes later, Mexico will score the 2-0. Off a corner kick, Carlos Guzman headed the ball and Luis Martinez dove in and it hit the post and went in.
Mexico almost paid dearly for a mistake. Mexico’s defender lost the ball and the Bermudan player hit a slow ball that goalkeeper Arturo Delgado inexplicably allowed to roll and hit the post. Luckily for him, the ball went to a Mexican defender to cleared.
Mexico missed a great chance when Leonardo Correa failed to control a ball after a great pass by Alvarez, that would had had him arrive 1 on 1 with the keeper.
Mexico had a questionable call against them when Correa got brought down in the area but the ref didn’t call a foul for it. It got messier when a Bermuda player went down in what looked to be a dive and the protests were on. The play finished in the second half with Alvarez also going down in the area but the ref didn’t give a foul either, as it also looked like a dive.
The second half had Mexico making two subs in hopes to regain their dominance and they did exactly that. Alvarez left Muñoz alone in front of the keeper but he wasted a sitter by kicking it too strongly and wide. Once again Muñoz got left alone in front of the keeper and he hit it straight to the keeper.
It was Efrain Alvarez’s turn when he had a shot that went wide in front of the keeper. Martinez also had a ball in the area saved by the goalkeeper in a terrible funk of finishing.
Finally, Santiago Muñoz got his goal when he headed from near range and it went in after hitting the top crossbar. Muñoz trouble came back when he headed a near range ball straight to the keeper.
Another Muñoz shot was saved by the keeper, although he didn’t have much time to get a good shot off in that play.
Mexico kept dominating with maybe a little slow down, having in mind the many matches Mexico has along with the short rest time. Efrain Alvarez got subbed out for Israel Luna. Luna gave a much needed boost and after a great combination play, was able to score a off a left footed shot after a great cross for the 4-0.
Bermuda looked finished and with a great combination play, Sebastian Muñoz’s shot was saved but it fell to Kevin Mariscal, who scored off the rebound.
Arturo Delgado had to make his first acrobatic save in the 89th minute when he parried a left-footed shot from Bermuda. Delgado almost made a problem for Mexico went he almost got caught in no-mans land but the Bermudan player got called for a foul.
Mexico improved from their Jamaica game, though they showed some problems, especially in the final third. Still, they bounced back from a first half where they seemed to falter a little and with better finishing from Santiago Muñoz, could have ended with two or three more goals in the end result. Mexico will now have to balance their squad, an area where coach “Chima” Ruiz had problems with in the 2018 Toulon Tournament, given the few days of rest between games.
Against Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico should try to play their best against a team that has been a surprise so far and who they will surely have a tougher time against. That said, Mexico is the superior side and they should come out on top if they play to their potential, something that has yet to happen in the tournament so far.