Mexico and South Korea faced each other in either team’s second game at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. The two teams clashed in a crucial encounter in Group F. The final scoreline was 2-1 to the El Tri.
Mexico was coming off a win against Defending Champions Germany and seemed buoyant. They wanted to capitalise on the opportunity they had earned to top the group.
South Korea, on the other hand, had to get a positive result from this game if they wanted to progress further.
The Asian side started the game aggressively. They hoped they would catch their Central American opponents off-guard. The gameplan was working until bad luck struck the team.
Defender Jang Hyeung-soo tried to intercept a cross but it hit his hand unintentionally. The referee saw malice in this action and pointed to the penalty spot. The South Korean team was in disbelief as this was a second penalty they have given in as many games.
Mexico’s Carlos Vella stepped up and took the lead for his country. An emotional goal for him as he is still nursing the heartbreak of losing his grandfather, who passed away after the Germany match.
South Korea didn’t let this fuddle their hopes and once again started attacking but were letting themselves be exposed on the counter-attacks. The first-half ended with the same scoreline.
If the Taegeuk Warriors wanted to prolong their stay in Russia, they would have to do something different in the second-half.
However, they didn’t. The coach insisted on them to keep going out to attack Mexico and were being constantly countered. One of them was when Carlos Vela took the ball from South Korea and played a through pass to Hirving Lozano. He did the same and laid the ball off to Javier Hernandez who not only doubled his side’s advantage in the game but also scored his 50th international goal.
Son Hyeung-min did manager to score one back to the side and open his own account at the World Cup, but it was too little too late.
Mexico has come into the World Cup with a completely different approach to their footballing philosophy. They are playing brilliant football and are being clinical whenever it is required. An asset that can see them progress further than what was expected of them.
Meanwhile, South Korea cannot be disheartened with their showing in this tournament. The team was just outdone by better oppositions. They should take lessons from this campaign and implement them in their next quest for glory.
With Germany taking on Sweden later on, Mexico’s qualification makes this particular matchup more interesting than it previously was. As it has been the theme of this FIFA World Cup, we should only expect the unexpected.