Mexico completely dominated Guatemala as they returned to action for the first time in 2020 with a 3-0 victory in Estadio Azteca. Mexico got an early goal and were superior in every way over a young Guatemala side that couldn’t cope with the physically better prepared Mexican team. Mexico had a team comprised of Liga MX players and will now travel to the Netherlands were they will face the local side on October 7th and then have another match on October 13th against Algeria.
The first half started with Mexico playing their first game since November 2019 with (just like that last game) a Liga MX squad. Mexico did have several experienced players like Carlos Salcedo, Jesus Gallardo, and Luis Rodriguez as well as young players with already heavy national team experience like Uriel Antuna, Cesar Montes, Sebastian Cordova and Carlos Rodriguez. The game had a couple of even minutes but in the first dangerous play, Sebastian Cordova made a good pass into the area and found Henry Martin, who got to the ball and shot it past Guatemala’s keeper, Ricardo Jerez. Both players play with America, with Estadio Azteca being their home stadium, thus they continued to do what they regularly do.
Guatemala tried to answer back and got a corner kick but it was cleared by Mexico’s defense. Mexico had another chance when there was a mistake by Guatemala defense but Jerez was able to clear it out, in a play that the TV broadcast failed to show because of replays being shown. Later Mexico came close when a great cross by Cordova was headed by Martin from close range but Jerez made a great stop and then was able to clear it before Cesar Montes came in to head the rebound. Mexico continued to totally control possession although Guatemala was doing a good job in the final third to stop them from creating dangerous chances. After a couple of good minutes from Guatemala, Mexico took advantage with a good run from Uriel Antuna, who got past his defender and made a great pass to Orbelin Pineda. Pineda took the one time shot and placed it past Jerez for the 2-0.
Guatemala had their first good counter when a bad pass by Pineda gave them a four-on-two, but a bad pass in the final third ended the play when Mexico’s defender were able to get back. Mexico got another great opportunity when a mistake by a Guatemala defender allowed Jesus Gallardo to make a run into the area and the made a pass to Cordova, who got a left footed shot past Jerez for the 3-0. Mexico came close again when Cordova made a pass that a Guatemalan defender almost deflected into the net but Jerez was able to get to it. In the final minutes of the first half, Gallardo made a cross that Carlos Rodriguez tried to head it but it went wide. The ref blew the whistle and Mexico took the lead after a very good performance.
The second half started with Guatemala making a substitution by subbing out Marco Dominguez for Rudy Barrientos. Mexico didn’t make any substitutions. Mexico had their first opportunity when an Antuna finished with a defender clearing the ball into Henry Martin’s feet, but Jerez was able to get the ball of them. A couple of minutes later, a cross by Antuna almost got deflect into a goal but Jerez came up with a big save. Guatemala subbed out Steven Robles and Jesus Lopez for Eduardo Soto and Jairo Arreola. Mexico made their first moves by subbing out Uriel Antuna, Luis Rodriguez, and Jesus Gallardo for Roberto Alvarado, Jorge Sanchez, and Miguel Layun.
Minutes after the substitution, Mexico looked to have a good chance but Pineda’s shot went wide. After a couple of minutes were Mexico dropped their level, Mexico had a chance when a couple of plays in the area ended with a Roberto Alvarado shot that went over the net. Mexico subbed out Henry Martin and Sebatian Cordova for Alexis Vega and Fernando Beltran. Mexico tried to go forward but didn’t do as good job of it as they did in the first half. Guatemala subbed out Cristopher Ramirez for Alejandro Galindo, as they hoped to take advantage of Mexico slowing down. Guatemala had to sub out Luis Martinez for an injury for Jorge Vargas. Mexico subbed out Cesar Montes for Gilberto Sepulveda. Mexico continued to have complete control of the game while Guatemala continued to sit back and counter to no avail. Mexico looked to have a penalty kick when Alvarado got brought down but the referee gave it as a free kick just outside the area. It looked like Miguel Layun was injured but he was able to stay in the match. Mexico controlled the last minutes before the referee whistled to give Mexico an easy solid victory.
Mexico had a great performance in what was basically a sparring match. Guatemala was the last minute substitute of Costa Rica, who was going to play the match before they had to cancel because of COVID mandated quarantines that Costa Rican players would have had to suffer when they returned to Costa Rica for Mexico. Guatemala was a spirited side but they were overly inferior and couldn’t cope at all with Mexico’s speed and their superior physicality. Guatemala didn’t have a single dangerous opportunity the whole game and Mexico’s goalkeeper, Hugo Gonzalez, was an spectator. Mexico will have few complaints about the game. One of it will be the way the team slowed down in the second half and it could be worrisome how none of the substitutes that came in the second half had an impact on the match. Still outside of that, Mexico was totally dominant and will now look to a totally different level of difficulty in Europe with a team which will consist mostly of their European based players.