Miguel Herrera's "change you can believe in" was apparently right from the get go: only four players started from the Mexico squad that lost to Costa Rica in CONCACAF last month. One of which was Rafa Marquez who, wearing the captain's armband, assisted on Mexico's first goal in 11th minute last night.
Mexico controlled possession and dictated the game's tempo throughout the night. This is more a testament to their opposition than it is about the Mexican style of play. Mexico, playing in 3-5-2, had long periods of the three centerbacks casually passing the ball back and forth just shy of the midline. Finland did not press and rarely did any players venture past the midline when they didn't have possession.
While Mexico's goals were superb, combining short passes and individual flair, their defense is a major point of concern. Finland's goals were a more of a product of bad defending than any build-up of play or chance creation.
The first goal, a Finnish freekick hits off the wall, but Mexico is unable to clear it. With five Finland players in the box, it was only a matter of finding the right player to slot the ball home, which they did. The second was a Juan Carlos Valenzuela own goal.
Mexico got the win, by a large margin, but I not prepared to punch their ticket through to Brazil just quite yet. Judging by sheer volume of empty seats at San Diego's Qualcomm stadium, most fans aren't ready to either.