Football

Mexico in World Cup trouble?! El Tri’s friendly loss to Sweden provides bad omens for Qatar

Mexico lost 2-1 to Sweden on Wednesday in their final tune-up match before the World Cup – a worrisome omen for the weeks ahead.

  • Sweden opened scoring just after Mexico hit post
  • Mexico’s Alexis Vega equalised
  • El Tri surrendered set-piece goal to lose 2-1

TELL ME MORE: Under-fire manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino failed to inspire a convincing performance ahead of the World Cup. Mexico dominated possession against a team not qualified for the tournament but struggled to put away shots while their defence fell asleep twice. Martino did get to bring on Raul Jimenez, the star striker hurt since August, but the attacker’s 45 minutes of work were not sharp.

THE MVP: Vega ended a stretch of woeful finishing for El Tri on Wednesday, bursting behind the Sweden defence to latch onto a Hector Herrera pass before sliding a shot around the goalkeeper. One of Mexico’s biggest concerns at the World Cup will be chance conversion, particularly with Jimenez still far from full fitness. Vega is known more as a distributor than goalscorer, but his contribution in the finishing department will be welcomed by the squad.

THE BIG LOSER: Mexico’s defence, which far too easily let Sweden steal the opening goal despite El Tri controlling the flow of the match. Hector Moreno needed to be more aware of Marcus Rohden sliding behind him to score. The second goal, meanwhile, came when nobody closed down Mattias Svanberg at the top of the box following a deflected corner. Inexcusable.

MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:

Getty ImagesGetty ImagesGetty Images

DID YOU KNOW? Andres Guardado became the most capped player in Mexico history with his 178th appearance.

WHAT NEXT? Mexico are in action again next Tuesday against Poland for their World Cup opener. Then, El Tri will take on Argentina and Saudi Arabia to round out action in Group C.

MATCH RATING (OUT OF FIVE): ⭐

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