England v Mexico

It was all just about bragging rights really. In the English Premier League game, derby matches are always important, regardless of the league position of the two teams, regardless of who wins what trophy, regardless of any relegation that might happen. It’s all about bragging rights. The ability of the winning teams supporters to be able to wave victory in the face of their fellow city dwellers. For at least a few months.

England v Mexico was a derby match for me, albeit an international derby that no one else will recognise as such. I’ve held the bragging rights for the five years I’ve been here, since England crushed Mexico in 2001 (I think) with a 4-0 margin. And I’ll hold those bragging rights for….well, who knows. If England and Mexico both win their World Cup groups, and come through their first knock out matches, we’d meet in the Quarter finals. So the bragging rights are mine till then at least. In your face, losers!!!

There’s a million different ways to analyse yesterday’s game. That was one of the most disjointed and underwhelming England performances since Capello took charge. On the other hand, there were four players in the team – Milner, Carrick, King and Baines – who will not start for England in the World Cup. Five if I had my way. I’d pick Joe Hart in goal ahead of Rob Green.

Gerrard also played out of position on the left in the first half. He just isn’t any good out there. And of course, the Chelsea contingent of Terry, Lampard and Cole were all rested. England learned what won’t work yesterday. Nothing more. Personally, I’d have liked to see England playing like they mean it, like they’ll need to in a couple of weeks. Not still experimenting with players and formations.

As for Mexico. Pobrecitos! You can look at their performance very positively. They were quick, passed well, created some great chances. They were by far the better team in the first half, and still competitive in the second half, although England did run them a little ragged as the game wore on. But. But, but, but. What’s the saying?  They played like never before. Lost like always. When you get a chance, you have to score. Or all the pretty play before it was a waste of time. Mexico need to start finishing more clinically.

It is, to be honest, easier to judge Mexico from this game. Their preparations have been ongoing for longer, they’ve played more games recently and they fielded a team that is pretty close to being the ‘finished article’. Bar Perez in goal – who didn’t do so badly really. I must confess I have little faith in him normally! I personally choose to take the positive point of view – if they can build on this and get themselves into a scoring streak in South Africa, they’ll do well.

Their preparations have been incredibly thorough, including putting together a tough triple Euro friendly schedule against England, Holland and Italy, all away. I had my doubts about that sort of fixture list. Being on the end of three thrashings isn’t the way you want to go into a World Cup. But they’ve come through the first game with a lot of credit. I suspect they’ll lose against Holland too I’m afraid. Maybe a 3-0. Playing them just two days after playing England will be tough. And Holland are tough.

But then they have a little rest, and on to what I think is the most important game of them all. Italy are there for the taking. I’m going to go for a 2-1 win for El Tri, and a huge high to take with them to South Africa. You can watch the highlights of the Mexico v England game by clicking here. Sadly, the FA don’t allow videos to be embedded. If the highlights are too painful to watch, then I have embedded a more upbeat video for all you Mexicans below, to help build up the hype and excitement.

10 thoughts on “England v Mexico

  1. I may be the only person who thinks this, but I actually would be much more worried if I was Capello than if I was Aguirre. The second English goal should not have counted (Crouch was offside) and if Mexico had converted at least one of the chances it generated it would have been 2-2. In Wembley.

    Mexico had the ball 66% of the time and had 23 shots on goal (against England’s nine). More often than not you win a game like that. I’m actually more confident of Mexico’s chances in the World Cup now than I was before the game.

    But you definitely got the bragging rights nonetheless. I’ll give you that 🙂

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    1. I just watched the second goal again. He looks level to me when Rooney heads the ball. The question mark most made was whether it hit his chest or arm. It was the arm, but it was ball to arm, not arm to ball – goal counts for me.

      It was a good performance by Mexico, no doubts. They have got lots to be happy about. On the balance of play, 2-2 would have been a fair result. But games are never decided by balance or chances, or shots that hit the post. Did England deserve a 3-1 win. Of course. They got the ball into the net three times, and Mexico only once. That’s the harsh reality of football.

      Possession and shots stats mean little to me by the way. If you look at the Champions League final stats from Saturday, it’s clear that Bayern should have won. In reality, Inter set their stall out allowing those sorts of stats to happen, knowing they’d create the better chances by doing so. Inter deserved to win.

      Should Capello be worried? As I mentioned in the post, this was an experimental team, both in players and formation. Half that starting line up won’t even feature in the World Cup. So there’s not really much to be worried about on that level.

      England do need to keep their first XI fit and in form though. They are a force to be reckoned with. England’s worries will lie in a situation where too many second string players need to be called upon.

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  2. Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG1fHoStyXA

    Look at 3:53. He’s off by half a meter or so.

    You are definitely right that England deserved to win. My point was not about Mexico “deserving” a better result, but rather about likelihoods. Take the US vs Spain in the confederations cup last year, for example. I’m pretty certain that 8 out 10 times the team that does what Spain did in that game is going to win. The comparison with the Bayern vs Inter is complicated because Bayern only had 3 shots that actually went to the keeper. In other words, despite having possession of the ball, they didn’t produce nearly as much chances as Mexico did yesterday.

    But we can agree to disagree I guess…

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    1. From that angle it is clearer. Yes he’s offside. Such is life. Sometimes decisions go for you. Others against you. England had a pretty good shout for a penalty late on. If the player had pulled up instead of carrying on, I suspect it might have been. That’s football.

      I’d also add, as far as who might be more worried, Capello or Aguirre, this: to win a World Cup, you’ll need to win games when you play poorly. Which England did yesterday. If you can’t win when you play well, you’re doomed. Unless of course you do win when you play crap, and you always play crap…. 🙂

      My comparison with Bayern – Inter was simply to make the point that stats, possession etc can often mean little. The style and tactics a team employs can produce misleading figures for the telly companies to broadcast at the end of games.

      But really this was just a friendly, and though more meaningful for Mexico than for England, it’ll all be meaningless in two and half weeks time when the real stuff begins!!!

      And make no mistake….I’ll be cheering on Mexico. Unless….unless….!

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  3. i am actually in england right now. didnt make it on time for the game though (i arrived at 8pm from iceland and leave for bulgaria at 6am… spending the night at gatwick airport easy jet style!). so i didnt watch the game. but apparently the tri still cant score. do you think that chicharito, vela, giovani etc can deliver the goals that we are so sorely lacking ?

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    1. That’s the key question Dan. They are putting in great performances everywhere else on the park, just not in front of goal. Franco did score, but he needed the ball to be headed direct at him to shoot from about 4 yeards out….

      Who should start is up in the air still, I think. Although Chicharito certainly made a case for himself today. But I’ll save the post for the strikers for after the Italy game. That’s when decision time is.

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  4. I overhead some Mexicans in a pub in London talking proper Spanish (none of that lisping nonsense), was quite nice! Back in two weeks, can’t wait!

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    1. Let’s hope that they do better against Italy. That match was always the one I felt they could get something from. They have a weeks rest, can field their best XI, and with a little luck get a result.

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