The curse of the round of 16 continues for El Tri, atleast for another 4 years, but Mexico’s elimination from Brazil 2014 truly clouds a sensational resurgence from a horrid qualifying campaign.
Few expected much from El Tri after watching Mexico self-destruct in 2013. But Mexico came back to life just in time to give its fans a reason to believe. Mexico came but minutes away from reaching its objective, but fell short.
The World Cup is now closing in on the semi-finals, yet I still continue to believe that Mexico was one of the best collective squads in the entire tournament. What Mexico lacked in big names it made up for in its cohesive play, that came extremely close to outshining one of the tournament favorites.
Here are the top 5 revelations for Mexico in Brazil 2014:
5. Guillermo Ochoa
It was a bit of a shock to see Guillermo Ochoa chosen over Jesus de Corona, who seemed the favorite to start in Brazil. Ochoa isnt really a revelation, his talent was already beckoned for on several occasions. Fans were distressed when Ochoa wasn’t defending the net for El Tri in the 2010 World Cup. But fans must have been pleasantly surprised to see Ochoa finally get his shot on the big stage in Brazil. Ofcourse Ochoa did not fail to impress, almost sustaining a clean sheet in the group stage of the tournament, and making some of the most difficult saves of the tournament. He was key against Brazil, and almost pushed El Tri into the quarter-finals with his saves against the Netherlands in the round of 16.
4. Jose Juan “Gallo” Vasquez
Who would of thought the smallest player on the squad would be so important for El Tri in the group stage of the tournament. The midfielder from Leon was truly a revelation, as not much was expected from Vasquez who seemed a mere filler for the injured Juan Carlos Medina. Vasquez proved essential going forward, and at the same time did well to ferociously mark men left and right in the midfield. Its a shame Vaquez wasnt available for the game against the Netherlands as he could have been pivotal to Mexico’s chances of advancing.
3. Hector Moreno
Not much is said about the Espanyol defender, but he was key to El Tri’s campaign. His presense was truly missed when he was subbed out in the game against the Netherlands. Moreno was a major reason why Arjen Robben was kept at bay for so long, but once he got injured that section of the field was exposed to the Dutch attack.
2. Javier Aquino
Aquino who played tremendously in the Olympics and in La Liga BBVA for Villarreal proved a futile substitute in the World Cup. Miguel Herrera left Aquino out for a reason and thats because he didnt fit in the teams scheme of play. Aquino is fast, but way too unproductive, if his runs led to goals then it would certainly be different. But sadly, Aquino was not effective at a crucial moment in the round of 16 that greatly hurt El Tri.
1. Hector Herrera
Herrera completely blew Mexico fans out of their seats with his tenacious style of playing. Herrera was Mexico’s best player in the World Cup, he controlled the midfield, and distributed the ball to perfection. He took tremendous shots from outside the box in almost every game, it’s ashame he didnt attain a goal as reward for his relentless work ethic. Herrera covered the field like no other, he could be on one side of the pitch defending then on the other fueling the counter.
Mexico has alot to look forward to in the coming years, nurturing players like Herrera, Vasquez, and Ochoa will be important for El Tri’s future.