It was not nearly as easy or as straightforward as Mexico was expecting, but in the end El Tri rallied for a 2-1 victory over New Zealand.
There were surprises both on and off the field, with the All Whites taking a shock lead and Mexico fans in the stands largely refraining from the infamous “eh p*to” chant after FIFA’s latest warning, drawing praise from the national team’s official Twitter account.
APPLAUSE for the fans who DIDN’T shout at the @NZ_Football goalkeeper. True #Incondicionales!
There was no praise, however, for the play on the field. Juan Carlos Osorio made no fewer than eight changes to the starting XI that drew 2-2 with Portugal on Sunday, and Mexico looked rather disjointed in the opening half. New Zealand had several chances to take the lead, beginning with a dangerous header in the 20th minute that Alfredo Talavera snagged right on the line.
The second round of Group A games will be played this Wednesday, with Mexico facing New Zealand and the hosts Russia taking on Portugal.
New Zealand is by far the weakest team in the group and Mexico will expect a straightforward victory here. After drawing with Portugal in their opening game, a win would put El Tri in a very good position before their final game against Russia.
Mexico beat New Zealand 2-1 in an international friendly in Nashville this Saturday. Juan Carlos Osorio gave three players their debuts as he continues to tinker with lineups and formations ahead of the start of the Hex in November, and at times El Tri looked a bit disjointed.
However, they still did enough to earn the win. Prodigal son Giovani dos Santos opened the scoring in the 28th minute after referee Jair Marrufo awarded a penalty for a foul by Declan Wynne on Hirving Lozano. Dos Santos converted the spot kick to make it 1-0.
Juan Carlos Osorio has named his starting XI to take on New Zealand in tonight’s international friendly, and three players will be earning their first caps. Jordan Silva, Hedgardo Marín, and Jesús Gallardo will all make their debuts for El Tri in Nashville.
In the first of two October friendly matches, Mexico will take on New Zealand this Saturday at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.
These two nations have faced off a total of five times since 1980, with four wins for El Tri and one for the All Whites. Most recently, they faced off in 2013 in a World Cup Qualifying intercontinental playoff; Mexico won both legs, 5-1 at home and 2-4 in Wellington.
The Mexican national team will face New Zealand and Panama in international friendlies this October as preparation continues for World Cup Qualifying.
El Tri will take on the Kiwis on October 8th in Nashville and Panama on the 11th in Chicago.
The 23-man roster is heavily domestically-based, with just three players from outside of Liga MX – including the LA Galaxy’s Giovanni dos Santos, who is making his return to the national team.