Mexico Crushed By Sweden But Who Cares Because South Korea Beat Germany

Mexico advanced to the Round of 16 despite a 3-0 loss to Sweden thanks to South Korea's stunning 1-0 win over Germany.

El Tri fans will likely not want to watch the Mexico vs Sweden highlights from Wednesday’s World Cup Group F finale. The 3-0 defeat for the Concacaf side had few redeeming qualities for fans of Mexico. But hey, South Korea stunned Germany and El Tri advanced anyway, so who cares, right?

Mexico started the match out with the right attitude, not sitting back but not pushing too far forward. But that changed in the second half, when Sweden took the lead with three goals in 24 minutes. 

At that point, El Tri had little chance of getting a result, even though a draw would have been enough to go through. So Mexico fans turned their attention to the South Korea-Germany match, where the defending champion needed just a win to advance at Mexico’s expense.

But, just like the U.S. in 2002, South Korea came through for the Concacaf side. In 2002, the U.S. lost to Poland 3-1 on the final match day but was able to advance thanks to South Korea’s 1-0 win over Portugal, the favored side in the group. On Wednesday, South Korea beat Germany 2-0 to send Die Mannschaft home after the group stage for the first time ever.

The result kept Mexico alive in the most unlikely of fashions, albeit as second place in Group F, likely setting up a Round of 16 match against Brazil. It marked the second straight World Cup in which Mexico was saved by a team with nothing to play for. In qualifying for the 2014 tournament, Mexico only made it because the U.S. beat Panama with two late goals.

Let’s go through the Mexico vs Sweden highlights chronologically.

Mexico Vs Sweden Highlights — First Half

It didn’t take long for the action on the pitch to heat up. Jesus Gallardo received a yellow for Mexico in the first minute for jumping into the back of a Swedish player. At 13 seconds, it was the fastest yellow card in the history of the World Cup.  

Mexico survived a bad call when goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa picked the ball up in the box but the referee ruled it as outside the box. Because that’s not a call VAR can amend, Sweden was given a free kick that tested Ochoa, who was equal to the challenge from Emil Forsberg.

Fortunately for El Tri, Ochoa was not booked for the offense.

In the 12th minute, Swedish forward Marcus Berg attempted a far-post bicycle kick off a corner that skimmed just wide. 

Carlos Vela nearly scored in the 17th minute after a strong piece of play from El Tri. Vela cut inside on his left foot like he loves to do, but curled it just wide. 

A minute later, Forsberg popped up in space in the 18 but skied his first-time shot like Gonzalo Higauin.

In the 30th minute, Mexico survived a scare in the box. The referee went to VAR to determine whether Javier Chicharito Hernandez committed a foul when he inadvertently allowed the ball to hit his arm. But the referee ruled it was close enough to his body to not give Sweden a penalty kick.

Though Mexico escaped without having to face a penalty kick, Juan Carlos Osorio was nervous.

On the corner kick that ensued (instead of a penalty), Ochoa again came up with a big-time save to deny Sweden. 

Vela again mishit when cutting in to his left, hitting high and wide from a good position in the 39th minute. And just before halftime, Berg hit Mexico on the counter but his left-footed slash hit outside netting in the 47th minute, leaving the team's scoreless at the break.

Despite all the chances on both ends, the best highlight of the first half came from Hector Herrera near midfield.

Mexico vs Sweden Highlights — Second Half

The second half started similarly to the first, with both teams pushing forward. But it was Sweden that took advantage for the game’s first goal. 

After a shot from Viktor Claesson was shanked, it went straight to Ludwig Augustinsson, whose first-time volley whizzed through the hand of Ochoa and into the back of the net in the 50th minute.

Sweden kept up the pressure and both Ola Toivonen and Augustinsson hit high from good spots in the four minutes after the goal. 

Sweden doubled its lead in the 62nd minute when Hector Moreno took down Marcus Berg on a killer counter attack. Andreas Granqvist stepped up to the spot and smashed the penalty past Ochoa. 

Marco Fabian was Juan Carlos Osorio’s first substitution in the match in the 65th minute and moments later he launched a wicked shot from distance that was deflected just over the bar by a Swedish head. 

Things went from bad to worse when Edson Alvarez accidentally knocked the ball into his own net in the 74th minute. 

After that, the match was all but over. Mexico was reduced to scoreboard watching, hoping Germany doesn’t score against South Korea. 

Those hopes were realized when South Korea scored in stoppage time to eliminate Germany. Kim Young-Gwon scored the go-ahead goal in the 92nd minute, with the assistant referee initially taking the goal away but then VAR rightly gave it back.

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Son Heung-Min made it 2-0 with an open-net goal in the 96th minute, putting the nail in Germany’s coffin.

And with that, despite the 3-0 defeat, Mexico was through. 

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