Mexico and the Republic of Ireland got the result both teams wanted as they finished with a point each from Thursday’s match. The draw currently has both teams at four points each, which means that if they both win their final game of the group stage they will both go through to the Semifinals, as no team in Group A and Group B can finish with seven points.
From the start, it was clear both teams knew the benefit of a draw, with both teams looking more worried about not losing than going for the win.
El Tri started with the same lineup as in their first game, with the exception of Fernando Beltran starting over Sebastian Cordova. It seemed like an odd decision since rotating players is a must for a short tournament like this one.
Ireland had the first opportunity when a long range shot was badly saved by Mexico’s goalkeeper Jose Hernandez. Hernandez should’ve done better but just stopped the ball with his chest instead of handling and gave a rebound that the Mexican defense luckily got to before the Irish attackers.
Pretty soon it was Ireland who had control of the possession. Ireland looked more composed as a team, while Mexico looked disjointed. A great chance for Ireland fell when Ismael Govea failed to cut a cross and it fell to the Irish attacker, but his shot went wide.
As time went on, Mexico got back control of the possession but couldn’t create a dangerous opportunity. Eventually, a good attack opportunity for Mexico ended with a yellow card for Alan Mozo when he failed to control the ball and crashed into an Irish defender when trying to get the ball back.
Fernando Beltran finally had Mexico’s first shot at goal in the 41st minute but his shot went way wide. Another drive from Paolo Yrizar finished with the ball getting cleared. The halftime whistle was blown and Mexico and Ireland, as expected, had played an even and dull first half.
The second half started with a more offensive Mexico, who was able to get into the Irish penalty area a couple of times. Unfortunately for Mexico, Ireland once again looked more dangerous without creating much.
In what was Mexico’s best chance, Erick Aguirre seemed poised to enter the area but he got brought down just outside of it. Off the free kick, Jairo Torres struck the woodwork in what was El Tri’s most dangerous opportunity.
Jose Hernandez had to make a save when a corner kick cross almost bended Olympic style.
In the final minute, Mexico had a play in the area that finished with an Alan Mozo shot that was controlled by the keeper. The game finished 0-0 and now both teams are in a prime spot to advance to the semifinals.
With a win in their final game against China, Mexico is assured of a ticket to the Semifinals. That said, Mexico will have a lot to be careful about. In 2018, coach Marco Antonio “Chima” Ruiz had played basically the same lineup for all three games and in their final game against China, they started to suffer physically. China dominated the game early on and took the lead before Mexico bounced back. So far, coach Jaime Lozano has followed the same gameplan, as he has only made one change from their debut game. It’s a mystery if he will do so against China, although the fact that key players have yet to play, like forward Ronaldo Cisneros and Marcel Ruiz, probably means they are being saved for the China game. After basically getting the best result against Ireland, it would be more than a waste to do all that just to stumble in the key match that gives the ticket to the knockout rounds.