Group Of Death? Only For Mexico Opponents After Another El Tri Win
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Group of Death? Watching the Mexico vs South Korea highlights you quickly realize the only ones dying are those going up against El Tri.
Placed in a difficult group with Germany, Sweden and South Korea, arguably the toughest in the World Cup, many thought Mexico would have a difficult time advancing to the Round of 16. After a 2-1 victory over South Korea on Saturday, El Tri is all but through to the knockout rounds and on the way to possibly winning Group F.
Mexico took down defending world champion Germany 1-0 in its opener. The big challenge against South Korea, which lost its opener 1-0, was avoiding a hangover. Those fears were put to rest when Carlos Vela scored in the 26th minute.
Though the match was back-and-forth and Mexico never fully took control, Javier Chicharito Hernandez put the nail in South Korea’s coffin with a goal in the 66th minute. Tottenham star Son Heung-Min scored late, but Mexico held on for the three points.
The win gave Mexico six points. While it’s still possible for Mexico to not advance if Germany beats Sweden and Sweden beats Mexico with better goal differential, El Tri has done everything it can up to this point.
Plus, Mexico was looking fine as hell with white tops and maroon shorts.
If you missed any of the action, don't worry, we didn't. Here are all the Mexico vs South Korea highlights you need from Saturday's match.
Mexico vs South Korea Highlights
In the opening 15 minutes, it was the defense of Hirving Lozano, the goal scorer against Germany, that saved the day for Mexico. First, he tracked back to stop a counter attack after a Mexico corner kick with a well-timed slide tackle. Then he got in front of a shot in the six-yard box to prevent an attempt at Guillermo Ochoa’s goal.
What a defensive play by Chucky Lozano! pic.twitter.com/PyS3UYfeSh
That's Mexican spirit for you.
— FootyMatrix (@Footy_Matrix) June 23, 2018
In the 22nd minute, Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min hit Mexico on a one-man counter attack, only to have his first two shots blocked and his third deflected wide for a corner.
Carlos Salcedo and Hector Moreno come up with 2 big blocks in a row to twice deny Son. #Mexico controlling possession, but #SouthKorea are threatening with long balls on the counter. #KORMEX #KOR #MEX pic.twitter.com/CfnTMs7gsm
The ensuing corner drew a save from Ochoa before El Tri finally cleared the following corner.
Not long later, Mexico opened the scoring after a penalty kick was called on Jang Hyun-Soo. The South Korean defender raised his arm while sliding to block a cross from Andrés Guardado. The ball hit his arm and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation.
LAFC’s Carlos Vela stepped up to the spot and made no mistake to make it 1-0.
Both teams had chances to finish out the half, including Ochoa coming up with this stop.
Lozano got to stretch his legs late in the first half and produced this chance all by himself, but the ball flew over the bar and the teams went into halftime with El Tri leading 1-0.
Trying to stay in front of Lozano is not easy pic.twitter.com/A5Kb6Wvrsx
In the 57th minute, Guardado thought he had scored when his second effort was heading for the top corner. But South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-Woo was lightning-quick to reach the shot and parry it wide.
Andres Guardado nearly doubles Mexico's lead, but Jo comes up big! pic.twitter.com/XLhoJsikGt
The play was set up, again, by Vela, who had an outstanding match.
Carlos Vela's dribbling again drew multiple #SouthKorea defenders to him, and led to a chance for #Mexico. Good strike by Guardado in the end, but even better save by Cho. #ElTri #VamosMexico #LAFC #MLS#KORMEX #KOR #MEX pic.twitter.com/uQ3cQimieI
Carlos Vela nearly scored again! Brilliant touch at midfield to take the ball out of the air, ran around Layún on the overlap, and then curled a left-footed strike just over the bar! Great effort. #Mexico #ElTri #VamosMexico #LAFC #MLS#KORMEX #KOR #MEX pic.twitter.com/dS3taSHzf0
After threatening, Mexico finally got its second goal in the 66th minute. Chicharito scored the goal but it was all set up by Chucky’s run and assist.
It was Chicharito's 50th goal for El Tri, extending his lead as Mexico's all-time leading scorer, four ahead of Jared Borgetti.
In the 75th minute, it looked like South Korea would take advantage of a mistake from Rafa Marquez, who had just come into the match. But the El Tri legend did just enough to get back to prevent Mexico taking some self-inflicted damage.
In the 80th minute, Chicharito received a lump to his throat with this possibly incidental elbow that earned Jung Woo-Young a yellow and was an example of the physical play from South Korea throughout the match.
Son Heung-Min got a consolation goal in the 93rd minute with this golaso from the edge of the box.
Not much Ochoa could have done on that, but it was too little, too late for South Korea.
DO YOU LOVE SOCCER? pic.twitter.com/wleOGocSqP
Now if you like soccer like the Fox announcers, watch the Mexico vs South Korea highlights a few more times before El Tri faces Sweden in the final Group F match on Wednesday.