After struggling to find goals at Azteca Stadium during the CONCACAF Hexagonal, Mexico made amends in the first leg of their intercontinental playoff with a resounding 5-1 win over New Zealand. Paul Aguilar, Raul Jimenez, Oribe Peralta, Rafael Marquez all scored with Peralta knocking home a brace.
The win all but qualifies El Tri Colores for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as it would take a miracle in the second leg next week in Wellington for the All Whites to advance. They will need to win by 4+ goals and keep Mexico off the scoresheet to advance.
Fans were nervous heading into the match. Recently hired coach Miguel Herrera, in only his second game in charge, called in an all domestic based squad. The reasoning was that the travel and short training time would hinder team cohesion but was still a risk, leaving players such as Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and his 35 goals for the national team off the roster. But it paid off.
Mexico wore their traditional green home jersey and white shorts and red socks. The victory will no doubt be a sigh of relief at adidas as well. The 3-stripes released the Mexico 2014 World Cup jersey last month and the North American side is regularly one of their top selling jerseys during World Cup years.
In Wednesday’s other intercontinental playoff, Uruguay took full advantage of their superior side to defeat Jordan 5-0