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What can Mexico tell us about England?

The final score line of 3 to 1 for England in the Mexico-England friendly on Monday, May 24, 2010 didn’t reveal too much about the England team that the United States will face in its first World Cup match. England did not field their best eleven, but did have a number of starters on the field including Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard. Fabio Capello used the game to experiment and still managed to walk away with a 3-1 victory. Of course Mexico were playing in England, so I wouldn’t have expected a result.

Mexico appeared to put their starting eleven on the field from the very beginning. They showed their usual talent for passing the ball and keeping possession. On the other hand they also showed their historical inability to strike the ball well. The scary part is that Mexico is always a challenge for our national team, but an experimental English team was able to beat them handily. The Mexicans controlled the game in many parts, but the English were able to find the net.

The other scary part was that the English came out conceding possession to the Mexicans and then counter-attacking. We need the English to be cocky and come out attacking, so that we can sit back and score on the counter-attack. If the English sit back and play smart defensively, then they will probably have enough strength to prevent a goal. On the other end of the pitch, I can’t see the English not scoring against us. They will break us down at some point. Fabio Capello has instilled a certain amount of defensive discipline that could really hurt our chances of winning or drawing.

We also learned that we need Oguchi Onyewu or Clarence Goodson to deal with Peter Crouch. He is just too dangerous in the air to have relatively short centerbacks like Carlos Bocanegra, Jay Demerit, or Jonathan Spector marking him. Gooch could most likely completely neutralize Crouch.

There were also some positives to take away. England did not look organized and appeared very susceptible to quick passing and quick players. Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey could slice up the English defense like Giovanni Dos Santos and Carlos Vela did. Of course, the English were not playing with their normal back four, and we will most likely be facing John Terry rather than Ledley King in central defense.

In addition the English scored two goals off of set pieces, which is not Mexico’s defensive strength. However, we have shown ourselves to be much better in set piece situations. Also the Mexicans got a good number of chances on goal, and the US have shown themselves to be better finishers than the Mexicans. Beyond that the English looked susceptible to low crosses in the box. This may be something that Bob Bradley can exploit. Landon Donovan might do well against the English starting on the right side of midfield. He could then supply a number of low crosses into the box for players like Altidore, Dempsey, Buddle, Johnson, etc. He might also be able to cut in centrally and make something happen. Although I would never want to have to play the English, the Mexico game at least gave me the hope that the English can be beaten. Their brilliant individual players again did not make a great team.


  1. Jeremy L. says:

    I would also say that Mexico tends to play better and with more energy against us than against any other team. If we look at the rankings or compare the quality of the two teams, the USA has been better than Mexico for several years now, but they raise their game against us.

    • Adam Cann says:

      They also put laser pointers in our eyes when we play in Mexico City. I’m sure they’re just trying to point out where the ball goes though.

      • Sorry, I don’t buy the whole laser thing. In scorching heat and fast moving targets facing multiple directions, lasers are not conceivably an easy thing to pull off.

  2. This article also forgot to mention, the 11 fielded on the Mexican side have not been able to play together until this match. Their first meeting was late last week when they flew into Germany. Their starting goalie was also not fielded.

    England’s Crouch goal was a hand ball which the replays clearly showed and the commentators called out. While Mexico’s achilles heel seems to be finishing at this point, once their Gold Cup players (winners of U-17 World Cup 2006) sync up, they’ll a good force. Gio and Vela were part of that group and I hope to see more from them alongside new Man U signing Javier Hernandez when they play Holland tomorrow.

    • Andrew Huff says:

      Hi Fredo,

      I don’t follow the Mexican team very closely, so thanks for adding the info. I have seen many of these players together on the pitch at the same time in the past, they had most of their big names. I also thought that Mexico has had an unprecedented amount of friendlies to warm up for the World Cup, so these guys must have played together a lot though February, March, and May.

      Beyond that there were a few starters like Guardado who didn’t start, but the goalie didn’t make the difference. I actually think he played pretty well. I don’t think either of the other two possible starting goalies for Mexico would have made much of a difference. I do like Ochoa though.

      Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela are proven talents at this point, but their strengths are not finishing. I have only seen Hernandez in this match, but he looked like a player in the same mold. Guardado is also the similar. Mexico needs to produce some other high quality players, who aren’t all natural wingers. They are also going to need a replacement for Marquez in the near future. Mexico needs a striker like Guillermo Franco, but bigger and tougher (target forward) to really start beating quality teams especially the US.

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