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Mexico vs Cameroon: Recap and Highlights

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The ball hit the back of the net three time in the first half, but all three would-be goals – two for Mexico, one for Cameroon – were disallowed. The teams had to wait until the 61st minute for a goal to stand, when Oribe Peralta gave Mexico the lead. That goal proved to be enough, as Mexico picked up a 1-0 victory in their first game in the 2014 World Cup.

In the pouring rain in the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Mexico and Cameroon closed out the first round of Group A play with a game marred by controversy. Giovani dos Santos, who was one of Mexico’s best attacking threats and perhaps their man of the match, put the ball in the back of the net for the first time in the 11th minute and again in the 29th minute, only to have the flag go up both times. The first was a tight call; dos Santos looked level, but only level. However, ties are supposed to be called in favor of the attacking player.

The 29th-minute disallowed goal came from a set piece, a corner kick. Dos Santos headed the ball home after it was inadvertently flicked on by Cameroonian defender Eric Choupo Moting. The defender’s touch should have rendered any offside decision moot, and yet the flag went up again, turning Dos Santos practically apoplectic.

Sandwiched in between those was another offside decision at the opposite end of the field. In the 15th minute, Mexico was unable to clear their lines following a Cameroon set piece, and Choupo Moting poked the ball home between Ochoa and the post. However, he was in fact in an offside position when the ball was played to him, and it was correctly disallowed.

Despite their frustration at the halftime score – 0-0 instead of 2-0 – Mexico was able to keep their emotions under control and keep playing without giving in to frustration. When the breakthrough came just after the hour mark, it was well-deserved. Dos Santos was involved once again, as he raced in on goal only to have his shot stopped by the goalkeeper. Nevertheless, Itandje parried the ball instead of holding it cleanly, which allowed Oribe Peralta to pounce on the rebound and slot it home.

A sense of relief settled over El Tri after that goal; despite the poor offside calls, they had their lead. Cameroon was only threatening in spurts and rarely looked likely to find an equalizer. If another goal was going to come, the feeling was that it would come for the North Americans, and in fact Javier “Chicharito” Hernández really should have made it 2-0 in stoppage time, but his shot went wide.

With the 1-0 win, Mexico picks up 3 points, which leaves the Group A standings looking like this:

Team Games W D L GF GA GD Points
Brazil 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 3
Mexico 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
Cameroon 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
Croatia 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0

In the next round of Group A games, Brazil will face Mexico on June 17th, while Cameroon and Croatia will face off on June 18th.

Highlights

Lineups

Mexico: Guillermo Ochoa, Francisco Rodríguez, Rafael Márquez, Héctor Moreno, Paul Aguilar, Héctor Herrera (Carlos Salcido 91′), Juan José Vázquez, Andrés Guardado (Marco Fabián 68′), Miguel Layún, Giovani dos Santos, Oribe Peralta (Javier Hernández 73′).

Cameroon: Charles Itange, Cédric Djeugoue (Dany Nounkeu 46′), Nicolas Nkoulou, Aurelien Chedjou, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Stéphane Mbia, Alexandre Song (Pierre Webó 79′), Enoh Eyong, Benjamin Moukandjo, Eric Choupo Moting, Samuel Eto’o.

Confirmed: Guillermo Ochoa to Start vs Cameroon

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After being called up to the 2006 World Cup, where he was the third keeper, and the 2010 World Cup, where he was Óscar Pérez’s backup, Guillermo Ochoa will finally have the chance to play on the world’s biggest stage.

José de Jesús Corona had been thought to have the upper hand in the competition between the two goalkeepers, but it had been rumored for several days that it was “Memo” who won out in the end. Today, coach Miguel Herrera confirmed the rumor in a press conference, where he also revealed the rest of tomorrow’s starting eleven.

Herrera said, “I spoke with the three goalkeepers together, after that with each one individually to express [my] confidence [in them], and what I most liked to see was that both Chuy [Corona] and Talavera have supported Memo.”

For his part, Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa is “happy to be able to be here, close to acheiving a goal, a personal dream, my family and I are happy about this opportunity, to have the confidence of the coach and the group, and we’re ready to play.”

The other controversy surrounding the starting XI was in attack, and it’s been confirmed that Javier “Chicharito” Hernández will not be starting. Instead, Oribe Peralta and Giovani dos Santos will be the strike tandem in front of a midfield trio of José Juan Vázquez, Héctor Herrera, and Andrés Guardado, with a five-man backline of Paul Aguilar, Francisco “Maza” Rodríguez, Rafael Márquez, Héctor Moreno and Miguel Layún in front of Ochoa.

Mexico’s game against Cameroon kicks off at noon Eastern on Friday, June 13th.

Mexico in the World Cup: Where to Watch

world cupThe 2014 World Cup in Brazil kicks off at 4 PM on Thursday, June 12th, with the hosts taking on Croatia. The other two Group A teams, Mexico and Cameroon, face off the following day.

The Univision family of networks will have all three of Mexico’s group stage games on multiple channels, while English-language coverage is also available on the ESPN family of networks. The schedule is below; all times are Eastern.

Friday, June 13
Mexico vs Cameroon – 12:00 noon – Univision / Univision Deportes/ Unimás / ESPN2

Tuesday, June 17
Brazil vs Mexico – 3:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes / Unimás / ESPN

Monday, June 23
Croatia vs Mexico – 4:00 PM – Univision / Univision Deportes / ESPN2

In the Round of Sixteen, the winner of Group A will take on the Group B runner-up on Saturday, June 28th at noon, while the Group A runner-up will take on the Group B winner on Sunday, June 29th at noon.

Mexico vs Cameroon: Preview and Where to Watch

el tri

Drawn into Group A with Croatia, Cameroon, and the hosts, Brazil, Mexico will be facing stiff competition to get out of its group.

A disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign, in which only a late goal by the U.S. against Panama on the final matchday allowed Mexico to grab fourth place and the intercontinental playoff against New Zealand, damaged El Tri’s confidence. Mexico went through four coaches in quick succession during the end of qualifying before settling on Miguel Herrera, who guided them through the playoff against the Kiwis (a comprehensive 9-3 aggregate win) and then kept Mexico unbeaten during his tenure for six friendlies before falling 1-0 to Bosnia-Herzegovina last week.

Today’s El Tri looks a far cry from the one struggling to qualify nine months ago, but Mexico had to replace two players late on due to injury (Juan Carlos Medina made way for Miguel Ángel Ponce, and Luis Montes was replaced by Javier Aquino), which affects not only the lineup and tactics but also the players’ familiarity with each other. Aquino’s participation in the pre-World Cup friendlies, for example, was limited to a five-minute substitute appearance against Portugal after he flew in from China, where his club team Villarreal was on tour.

Mexico’s first opponent, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, breezed through qualification, topping their group in the first stage with 13 points and then dispatching Tunisia 4-1 on aggregate in the second, knockout stage. However, they have looked inconsistent in their pre-World Cup warmup games: a 2-2 draw with Germany was impressive; a 2-1 loss to Paraguay, less so. And against tiny Moldova in their last warmup game, Cameroon managed only a narrow 1-0 win.

Both these teams know that a win here will go a long way towards assuring their participation in the knockout round, and both will come out looking to win. Both teams have dangerous attacking threats, but the size of the Cameroonian players – 6-foot Samuel Eto’o, Nicolas N’Koulou and Pierre Webo, along with 6’1 Alex Song – will test Mexico’s defense, particularly in aerial battles, which have always been a weak point for El Tri (just look at Portugal’s stoppage-time winner in their friendly this past Friday).

Mexico and Cameroon will face off on Friday, June 13th at noon, under the eye of Colombian referee Wilmar Roldán, who will be making his World Cup debut. Catch it on Univision, Univision Deportes, Unimás, or ESPN2. It will also be online at WatchESPN and Univision’s Deportes en Vivo.