Mexico started their short European tour on the right foot with a 1-1 draw against Spain. In a match played in Madrid, both teams battled, traded possession, and played inspired ball. Spain played their final friendly match before going to play the U-21 Euro in Romania, where the team is one of the candidates to win the competition.
The match began with Mexico hoping to start their tour on the right foot while Spain were playing their final friendly before the U-21 Euro tournament. A minute in, Mexico had a good chance when Eduardo Aguila rose for a header, but the ball bounced off a Mexican attacker, stopping a chance in some friendly fire. Spain would respond with a free kick when Rodri Sanchez got off shot that hit the post. Off a counter, Ettson Ayon got into the area and his pass almost got deflected into the goal. Off the ensuing corner kick, Fidel Ambriz rose to get a solid header that went past Spain’s goalkeeper, Arnau Tenas and into the net for the opening goal that gave Mexico the 1-0 lead. Spain tried to respond and because of it, started to gain possession. In a bad luck play, Diego Campillo and Rodrigo Lopez crashed into each other and allowed the ball to get to Abel Ruiz, who then made a pass that found Aimar Oroz, who got off a right-footed shot past Mexico’s goalkeeper Fernando Tapia for the goal that gave Spain the 1-1 tie.
A minute later, Spain were on the attack again and after getting the ball in the area, Ruiz shot it past Tapia, but Oscar Villa made an incredible slide to clear the ball off the line as Spain came close to taking the lead. Spain had taken control of the match and had Mexico on their heels. From the midfield line, Mexico tried to get off a shot, but Tenas was there to save it easily. A long ball into the area was won by Ali Avila, who left the pass to Ayon, but his shot from close range went wide, wasting a great chance. A cross into the area from Villa found Rodrigo Huescas, but his header in the area went wide, wasting another chance. The halftime whistle blew and although Mexico suffered at times, the last minutes of the half were their best of the match.
The second half started with Spain subbing every player off the field. Mexico soon after subbed out Bryan Gonzalez and Rodrigo Lopez for Jordan Carrillo and Denzell Garcia. Spain had gained possession as the fresher legs from the subs started to trouble Mexico’s defense. Aitor Paredes jumped off a corner kick cross, but his close range header went wide. Mexico subbed out Ettson Ayon, Ali Avila and Eduardo Avila for Zaid Muñoz, Ricardo Monreal and Miguel Gomez. Spain would as well, making another five substitutions as they made sure their whole squad participated in the match. Carrillo and Latasa both fired off shots that would go wide. A bad move by Mexico allowed Latasa to get a 1 vs 1, but his shot went wide again. A free kick from outside the area by Carrillo was saved in the final play of the match.
Coach Gerardo Espinoza started his tenure in a positive way with an away tie against a tough Spain team that are candidates to win the Euro U-21. Mexico showed some flashes of great play, although at times it was obvious the team has barely had any time training together (Espinoza was still coaching Club Tapatio on June 3rd), but it should improve as times goes on. Mexico will now travel to Grenoble to play against France in a tough match before returning to the Americas to start play in the Central America and Caribbean games in El Salvador.