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Mexico introduced again right down to earth in Olympic loss to Japan, however soccer medal chase nonetheless on


Following an exhilarating opening win towards one of many favorites for the gold medal in France, Mexico was introduced again right down to earth by the host nation Japan in a 2-1 loss within the second of its three group video games.

Japan punched Mexico within the mouth early (scoring two objectives in 12 minutes) whereas the latter took a few unhealthy hits — specifically, an harm to the beginning left again (Erick Aguirre) and a purple card to the beginning heart again (Johan Vasquez).However the Mexicans staggered again, rediscovered their footing and delivered the ultimate blows, leaving them with an total optimistic vibe for what’s forward.

El Tri nonetheless has future in its personal fingers when it performs its remaining group sport on Wednesday: Beat South Africa within the remaining match, and it’ll clinch one in every of two Group A berths to the quarterfinals. A draw is also sufficient, however that might rely on whether or not France wins its finale.

“I’m calm. We all know there are issues to enhance,” Mexico coach Jaime Lozano stated within the postgame information convention. “We weren’t the most effective staff on this planet three days in the past (after the end result vs. France) and now we’re not decrease than the extent we predict we will attain.”

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What occurred to Mexico?

Evaluating the win over France to the loss towards Japan is the proverbial apples to oranges comparability: completely different opponent, completely different sport circumstances, completely different end result.

Japan jumped throughout Mexico within the opening minutes and disoriented El Tri with harrying strain and speedy, swarming attacking actions by its entrance 4. The hosts scored on one lightning-quick cross and first-time end within the field (Ritsu Doan to Takefusa Kubo within the sixth minute) after which pressured a giveaway and a reckless Mexican sort out within the field, which resulted in a penalty kick objective (Doan within the twelfth minute). Similar to that, Japan, up 2-0 inside quarter-hour, proceeded to sit down again and defend in numbers. It was a unique script in comparison with Mexico’s first Olympic contest.

Issues solely obtained extra difficult when Mexico left again Erick Aguirre fell to harm simply earlier than halftime and heart again Johan Vasquez was despatched off within the 68th minute for a foul on Doan that denied an apparent goal-scoring alternative. If Mexico had 10 extra minutes, it most likely would have discovered the equalizer towards Japan regardless of being outnumbered.

Two El Tri errors flipped the sport

The primary Japan objective noticed proper again Jorge Sanchez trailing harmful winger Takefusa Kubo, who beat him to a cross within the field. The second was triggered by a Charly Rodriguez giveaway in his personal half, adopted by an ill-conceived lunge within the field by heart again Cesar “Cachorro” Montes, who dedicated a penalty-kick foul for the second straight match.

“We dedicated errors that we hadn’t dedicated in a very long time,” Lozano stated after the match describing his staff’s begin to the sport.

Greater than placing Mexico in a 2-0 gap, the lead allowed Japan the consolation of sitting again on protection and constricting the areas that El Tri discovered pleasure in exploiting towards France. Mexico star wingers Alexis Vega and Diego Lainez couldn’t stretch out their legs on this sport, and heart ahead Henry Martin was a spectator as a byproduct.

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Set items turned one of the simplest ways for the Mexicans to get a clear have a look at the Japanese objective. It lastly occurred on an Eighty fifth-minute Roberto “Piojo” Alvarado lifeless ball into the field from the proper, which bypassed everybody on its means into the objective. Later, El Tri practically equalized on one other set-piece header, which the Japanese goalkeeper tipped over the bar.

In the long run, it wasn’t that Mexico was outplayed or outclassed towards Japan: The Mexicans had been merely neutralized. The self-inflicted errors, which Japan deserves credit score for forcing, arrange a sport Mexico discovered extraordinarily troublesome to navigate. Aside from midfielder Sebastian Cordova, who stood out for his stylish touches and one-on-one expertise, the Mexican staff typically had nondescript performances.

The place does this depart Mexico?

The loss to Japan ought to show a useful train for Lozano and his teaching workers to determine which gamers could be liabilities towards this kind of organized, high-pressure staff that has elite velocity retailers.

The excellent news for Mexico is that it received’t face that fashion when it meets South Africa on Wednesday. Based mostly on the way in which the Bafana Bafana didn’t defend THREE completely different leads towards France in a 4-3 loss, Mexico ought to be capable of discover retailers for its gifted attacking gamers. Plus, South Africa has to win by a number of objectives if it needs to have any likelihood of snagging a quarterfinal berth. So it received’t have the luxurious of retreating on protection.

The most important problem Mexico will face is changing the suspended Vasquez in central protection, and maybe left again Aguirre in case he doesn’t get well from his harm in time. In opposition to Japan, Lozano opted on having proper again Jorge Sanchez change sides to fill in at left again, permitting the much less skilled substitute Vladimir Lorona to play in his common proper again place. Whoever is available in must play a mistake-free sport: South Africa’s three objectives towards France got here on sensational particular person efforts and, like Japan, its attacking gamers have the expertise to punish any errors.

Even with the loss, Mexico is likely one of the prime 5 groups seen thus far on the Olympics alongside Spain, Brazil, Ivory Coast and still-perfect Japan. The Mexicans can be favored to beat South Africa subsequent, and they are going to be favored in an eventual quarterfinal towards whichever staff they meet from Group B. The medal chase remains to be very a lot on.


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