Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has revealed that his team put even more preparation and effort into their 2-1 World Cup win over South Korea than they did for their famous victory against reigning champions Germany a few days earlier.
El Tri won the contest 2-1 thanks to goals from Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez, with the result all but sealing a place in the Last 16 for a seventh straight World Cup.
Had Mexico relaxed after beating Germany and lost against the Koreans, who themselves were on the wrong end of a 1-0 defeat against in their opening game, that initial performance would have been in vain. And Osorio wasn’t prepared to let that happen.
“We have had two good matches and I think we have devoted more attention to this match today with South Korea than our match with Germany,” the coach was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail when he addressed the media after the clash in Rostov-on-Don.
“Very often, sometimes when you play countries that have less of a footballing history, human beings tend to rest on their laurels a little bit and are too relaxed,” he added.
“Every match, we insist on being fully focused and not losing that message. We have received a lot of praise but remain focused nonetheless.”
It wasn’t a perfect performance, however. Son Heung-min scored a late screamer that worried Mexico in the final minutes, while an earlier lax back-pass from veteran defender Rafael Marquez had almost let Son in with enough time to mount a comeback.
“It is bittersweet because we gave plenty of chances to our opponents. It has been a well-deserved victory, the team performed individually in a fabulous way,” Osorio explained.
“I think we have earned and deserved this victory and want to celebrate it with all our supporters but then it is back to work, focusing on our next match.”
Mexico will face Sweden in their third and final Group F game. And, as likely group winners, they will expect to face Switzerland or Serbia in the next round, presenting a real opportunity to reach the quarter finals of a World Cup for the first time since 1986.