As I watched by beloved United States get absolutely pummeled by Lionel Messi and Argentina, there was one small silver lining: at least we didn’t get beat 7-0. That is of course a shout out to our CONCACAF rivals Mexico who somehow suffered an even more embarrassing defeat at the hands of Chile in the quarterfinals. The 7-0 defeat was El Tri’s worst competitive defeat in their history and showed some glaring weaknesses in their promising squad.
After the match, Mexico’s manager Juan Carlos Osorio told reporters that his squad failed to make their mark in the midfield against Chile. Despite having players like Andrés Guardado and Hector Herrera running the show in the heart of the pitch, Mexico were just incapable of choking Chile’s attack before the final third. This allowed the Chileans to attack at will, and left the Mexican backline open for slaughter. on Eduardo Vargas’ second goal of the match, Alexis Sánchez was able to dissect the Mexican midfield before slotting a pinpointed pass to his compatriot on the break.
And while Chile’s attack thrived, Mexico failed to connect more than a couple of passes during any passage of play. This careless and slow passing play led directly to Chile’s third goal of the match as Héctor Herrera held on to the ball for a second too long in the defensive third, and within seconds Sanchez was slotting home to effectively put the dagger in Mexico’s semi final hopes. Through the opening stages of the tournament, Mexico’s attack thrived on the speed of play, and that urgency was lacking during a vital match.
While the midfield play from El Tri was disappointing, their defensive unit was abysmal. Going into the quarterfinal, Mexico had allowed just two goals through three games. That even included a 3-1 victory over another CONMEBOL powerhouse in Uruguay. Against Chile, their back four looked lazy and slow.
On several occasions, Chile’s strikers simply outworked their Mexican counterparts to get into goal scoring positions. Mexico looked incapable of reading the play, and anticipating where players like Sanchez and Vargas were going to run inside the penalty area. They were frequently guilty of ball watching and it cost them dearly.
Anytime a team lets in seven goals, you also have to look at the man between the pipes. While Guillermo Ochoa was left blameless for a couple of Chile’s goals, you have to think that the Malaga man could’ve done better to control rebounds, particularly on Vargas’ third goal which was a simple tap-in. Overall, a day to forget for really anyone in a Mexican shirt.
Poor Mental State
While the poor play on the field was shocking enough, fans will have wanted a little bit more fight from the Mexicans as the match drew to a close. For what seemed like the final 30 minutes of the match, it was difficult to find a player that wanted to be out there for Mexico. Their defenders looked in a constant state of apathy, and you couldn’t really blame the forwards for being frustrated as well.
Regardless of the score line, you would hope that professional players would have the mental maturity to give it their all for the entire time they’re out on the pitch. Fans spent hundreds of dollars to make the trip to NRG Stadium to watch their nation play, and they were rewarded with players that, by the end of the match, couldn’t care less about what was going on between the lines. Honestly, you could probably pin the last two or three Chilean goals on Mexico just not really wanting to be out there.