5 Key Lessons From Mexico’s Impressive Win Over The Netherlands In Amsterdam

Raúl Jiménez’s penalty was the difference in El Tri’s 1-0 victory.

Mexico has gone into the empty belly of the beast and defeated the Netherlands 1-0 at Johan Cruijff ArenA. The game’s only goal — a penalty converted by Raúl Jiménez — was fortunate in that Jiménez was offside before the foul that led to the spot kick, but Mexico’s play in defense, midfield and attack was superior to the Dutch’s over the course of 90 minutes in Amsterdam.

Here are my five key takeaways after watching Wednesday’s match on ESPN2.    

#1. Tecatito is fun as hell.

Tecatito vs Netherlands

Catch me if you can like the Gingerbread Man.

The game’s most exciting player, by far and away, was 27-year-old winger Tecatito Corona. The man’s been on fire for Porto to start the season — scoring and providing two assists in his last two appearances — and that good form carried over to the national team.

The only negative is that he should’ve had a goal to show for his efforts today, but Tecatito was a real live wire.

#2. Donny van de Beek is a player built to shine for Ajax in the Eredivisie.

The problem is, he’s in the Premier League with Manchester United. 

Watching Van de Beek shift through the gears is like watching milk spill across your dinner table. He’s the opposite of the heralded “Manchester United Way,” which demands attacking at a frantic pace. Van de Beek is a “dull” footballer — he’s ghosting movements, confined touches and metronomic passing. 

Edson Álvarez had him in his pocket for 77 minutes, and the Manchester United playmaker still couldn’t find any joy after mass substitutions had been made.   

#3. Tata Martino > Frank de Boer 

The 90 minutes was a microcosm of why Tata Martino has Mexico fans dreaming of the 2022 World Cup and why Netherlands supporters should rightfully wonder how Frank de Boer is in the position after consecutive failures with Inter, Crystal Palace and Atlanta United. 

The Netherlands looked slow, ponderous and predictable playing out of the back while Mexico looked organized and well-drilled in its high press. Yes, it was De Boer’s first match in charge, but it’s not like this El Tri group had been together since last November.

Listening to Ale Moreno chirp at De Boer throughout (on how he continues to get jobs: "His PowerPoint presentations must be spectacular") was my greatest joy of the week.

#4. A Barcelona front three of three false 9s would’ve been something.

In terms of buildup play, some of the Netherlands’ best moments came when Memphis Depay dropped deep and orchestrated things. He’s a lovely footballer, but why Ronald Koeman would want him at Barcelona — where a true No. 9 is obviously needed — is a mystery to me.

Still, it’s fun to imagine Depay, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann forming a front three of false nines and all occupying the same exact space. That really would’ve been the quintessential Barça transfer.

#5. There’s another game soon.

I don’t really have a fifth point. I lied to you; I’m sorry. But Mexico plays again on Tuesday, Oct. 13 against Algeria at Cars Jeans Stadion in The Hague, Netherlands.

This’ll be another awesome test against the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champion and the attacking talents of Riyad Mahrez, Ismaël Bennacer and Saïd Benrahma.  

Videos you might like