Mexico 2-1 Japan: El Tri player ratings

Posted by Tom Marshall

El Tri managed to lift at least some of the doom and gloom surrounding the squad Saturday, with a morale-boosting 2-1 victory against Japan in Belo Horizonte in its last game of the Confederations Cup.

- Marcotti: El Tri end Confed Cup on winning note
- Gomez: Five things Mexico did wrong at Confed Cup

There were signs the old mojo that had been badly lacking recently was back, especially in the second half, when Javier Hernandez scored his two goals to hand Mexico the win. There were also some of the same negative traits, such as a slow start and a lack of creativity for long periods.

It might have been a "meaningless" match in terms of the competition, with both teams already out, but for Mexico coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre, the win gave a little breathing space, at least up until the World Cup qualifiers in September.

A major talking point will be Diego Reyes' fine performance in place of normal captain Francisco "Maza" Rodriguez, as well as Raul Jimenez starting his first competitive game.

But the real hero was once again Hernandez, who scored his 34th and 35th goals for El Tri, in just his 53rd appearance.

Player ratings (Out of 10, 10 = best):

Guillermo Ochoa, GK -- 7: The Ajaccio stopper was faultless, even if Japan didn't really threaten too much. He was alert in stopping Shinji Kagawa's fourth-minute effort and instilled confidence in his back four.

Hiram Mier, RB -- 6: Flicked on the corner leading to Chicharito's second and was useful going forward, even if right back isn't his natural position. The jury is still out on whether he is the long-term solution to the position.

Diego Reyes, CB -- 7: Slotted into the heart of El Tri's defense with ease, with well-timed tackles and excellent reading of the game. On the ball, he showed his quality with a pinpoint long pass that arrived at the feet of Andres Guardado, who curled in the cross for Hernandez's opener.

Hector Moreno, CM -- 7: A competent performance from the Espanyol man in the heart of the defense. Moreno was alert to the limited danger Japan caused and dealt with it in a way that is now expected from one of Mexico's most consistent starters.

Jorge Torres Nilo, LB -- 7: Plenty of positives from Torres Nilo, who occupied a position higher up the field than normal with Andres Guardado tucking inside. Furthered the argument that Torres Nilo, and not Tigres teammate Carlos Salcido, is the rightful owner of the left back slot.

Gerardo Torrado, CM -- 5: A very slow start from the captain, who was responsible for Japan's first chance and couldn't get to grips with Japan's attacking fluidity. He improved as the game went on, but ideally Chepo would want more from a player appearing in his third Confederations Cup.

Jesus Zavala, CM -- 6: Hassled, hurried and tackled in the center of the pitch in front of Torrado. The Monterrey midfielder was solid but doesn’t possess the creativity to contribute enough going forward.

Giovani Dos Santos, RW -- 7: Mexico's best player in the Confederations Cup. Dos Santos was quieter than in previous games during the first half, but twisted, turned and was a general menace after the break, when he was unlucky not to score from one of his three left-footed efforts after cutting in from the right.

Andres Guardado, LW -- 7: You have to give credit for the way Guardado really took the game by the horns after halftime. Shaky in the first half, the Valencia player was a bright spark as Mexico started to dominate and topped off the improved performance with a cross of supreme quality for the opening goal.

Raul Jimenez, FW -- 6: Worked tirelessly without much reward alongside Hernandez. There were signs the two can play well together, but they'll need time. Jimenez almost scored with a header in the 52nd, which forced a fine save from Japan's Eiji Kawashima.

Javier Hernandez, FW -- 8: The man with the Midas touch in a Mexico shirt. Hernandez was lost almost all tournament for El Tri, forcing him to track back to try to get the ball. When Mexico finally started to generate genuine chances, Hernandez was there. A missed penalty in injury time was the only blemish.

Substitutes

Carlos Salcido (for Guardado, 71st) -- 6: Came in with the score at 2-0 and Mexico dominating proceedings, but couldn't stop Japan from wrestling for control of the game in the final stages.

Pablo Barrera (for Dos Santos, 78th) -- not rated: Bright on the right wing, but wasn't on long enough to make a true impression.

Javier Aquino (for Jimenez, 90th) -- not rated

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