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Mexico defeats Peru 1-0 in preparation match leading up to World Cup

Thanks to a goal from Chucky Lozano, Mexico gets a much needed win as Qatar 2022 draws closer and closer.

Peru v Mexico Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

Mexico was able to defeat Peru 1-0 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena thanks to a goal by Chucky Lozano in the 85th minute. It was truly a tale of two halves for the Mexican side that has had trouble scoring recently, so going into the match, many fans were hoping for a lot of goals. However, there was only one, and that single goal woke up an entire arena that was falling asleep as the game went on.

With a little under two months before the start of the World Cup, Mexico continues their preparation matches with many people, fans and media alike, wondering if the team will be ready. The first half team looked more ready than the second half team. The Mexico that came out in the first half held most of the possession and had Peru defending for 45 minutes. Peru did great in stopping any promising attacks Mexico had and was able to hold them to only four shots. Even with the majority of the possession they couldn’t make anything happen and many of their opportunities ended in nothing. Mexico had a corner in the 11th minute but nothing came of it because Peru was able to clear it out. A few minutes later, Luis Chavez was fouled outside of the box and they were given a free kick that Peru’s wall blocked, stopping the attack. Then, in the 18th minute, Kevin Alvarez sent a ball into the box but none of his teammates could get their head on it because they were well marked. That was how the rest of the half went, with Mexico failing to capitalize on any of their plays thanks in large part to Peru’s defense. Even though they couldn’t turn their opportunities into anything, Mexico could go into the locker room knowing that if they continued to press, they would eventually be rewarded. On the other hand, Peru headed into the half knowing they would need to change almost everything if they wanted a goal.

Right away in the second half, Peru was a whole new team. They were creating more chances and immediately looked more dangerous. Their defense continued to shut down any Mexican attack and their offense was finally waking up. The same couldn’t be said for Mexico. The team that came out for the second half was not the same team from the first. They weren’t pressing like they had and the defense was struggling to keep Peru from creating chances. They went from holding most possession to having a hard time getting the ball up the field. Any chances they did have once again turned into nothing. Mexico had lost the fire they had started with and the stadium was starting to fall asleep. As the game progressed, it looked like it would be a scoreless draw which would not boast well for Mexico. It wasn’t until the 85th minute when the team and the stadium came back to life as Mexico won a corner and Andres Guardado stepped up to take it. He sent it into the box where Cesar Montes was able to get his head on it and Chucky Lozano followed the rebound, kicking the ball past goalkeeper Pedro Gallese for the score. Mexico was able to hold on for a few more minutes until the final whistle blew and they took home the win. It wasn’t pretty, but was a win nonetheless.

With Qatar 2022 less than two months away, it makes sense there’ll be lots of criticism surrounding this game as well as the others leading up to the World Cup. There’s obviously a lot the team needs to work on and that’s exactly what Tata Martino said in the postgame press conference: “Every area needs improvement, not just one.” Some fans would disagree with Martino and say the team needs the biggest improvement in the passion they play with. It’s something the team has been criticized a lot for recently and it holds a lot of truth, considering they’ve struggled scoring a lot recently. They also look flat in games and that is what happened in the second half yesterday. That’s typically okay in friendlies, but not in preparation matches leading up to a World Cup. Mexico can’t afford to have flat and passionless games, considering that’s the required minimum if they wish to even make it out of the group stage in Qatar.