[MEXICO] After giving up just one goal in eight friendlies before heading off to Europe to begin final preparations for the World Cup, Mexico finally faced a legitimate contender and conceded three goals to England with remarkable ease. The bad news is Coach Javier Aguirre has only a day to repair things before the Tri's next game Wednesday against the Netherlands in Germany. And the good news?
Tri fans should find comfort in that host South Africa, Mexico's opponent for the June 11 opener, isn't likely to show the same efficiency England exhibited in scoring twice in the first half and a third goal just two minutes after the break.
Mexico put England under all kinds of pressure. The first two England goals were against the run of play during a first half that saw keeper Rob Green keep the Tri off the scoreboard with several outstanding saves and England get several other breaks.
Ledley King's tug on Guillermo Franco's jersey before the Argentine-born striker shot wide could have led to a penalty kick, and Carlos Salcido later in the first half hit the outside of the post with a header.
The surprise -- for the locals at Wembley -- was how well Giovani dos Santos, a bust at Tottenham, did in a Mexico attack that also featured two other players with EPL experience, West Ham's Franco and Arsenal's Carlos Vela.
But the England goals -- the first two off corner kicks and third from right back Glen Johnson -- exposed a Mexico rearguard that featured six -- count 'em, six -- defenders -- a backline of Paul Aguilar, Francisco Rodriguez, Ricardo Osorio and Salcido with Efrain Juarez pushed on to the right wing and Rafael Marquez playing as a sweeper.
Marking was nonexistent on the first two goals, and at least four defenders had a chance to stop Johnson before he unleashed a bending shot to the far post that gave goalie Oscar Perez no chance.
As our friend, the former Mexico coach Bora Milutinovic, would say, "CRI-mi-nal!"
May 24 in London
England 3 Mexico 1. Goals: King 17, Crouch 34, G.Johnson 47; Franco 45.
England -- Green (Hart, 46), G.Johnson, Baines, Gerrard, Ferdinand (Carragher, 46), King, Walcott (Lennon, 77), Carrick (Huddlestone, 61), Crouch (Defoe, 46), Rooney, Milner (A.Johnson, 85).
Mexico -- Perez, Juarez, Aguilar (Barrera, 51), Marquez, Salcido, Rodriguez, Torrado, Osorio, Dos Santos (Blanco, 72), Franco (Hernandez, 46), Vela (Guardado, 61).