Mexico had a good performance in Brussels
As a fan of the beautiful game, and the World Cup in particular, the news has been very tough to take. First it was Ballack, then Essien followed with the bad news. Yesterday, as Ollie pointed out, was a triple helping of high profile injury news. And just this morning, Arjen Robben left the pitch after sustaining some kind of leg injury. John Obi Mikel has been ruled out for Nigeria. This world cup is quickly being defined by who is not playing. Of all the players that have gone down, no injury is more devastating than that of Didier Drogba. If Ivory Coast were to squeeze past Portugal and Brazil, they needed Drogba to be at his absolute best. There is still a slim chance that Africa’s best player might see the pitch in Africa’s World Cup. Get better, Didier.
Mexico is finally in South Africa after playing a crazy amount of friendlies. They played a grand total of 8 games in 5 countries in about a month. Those are a lot of opportunities to for players to get knocks. Luckily for Mexico, they only got one: Guille Franco. They culminated their schedule with a fine 2-1 win over a listless Italy squad in Brussels. It’s a friendly, but a nice win nonetheless.
It changed the narrative in a week that saw the Mexican, media, fans, and one very upset daddy turn on Javier Aguirre. Media types gleefully recapped the “mistakes” that Aguirre had made since taking over Mexico last April. Others were questioning his sanity. In other words, they were doing what they do best: exacerbating their fatalist storylines to build the foundation of reasons why Mexico was going to fail in the upcoming World Cup. What was his crime? What heinous act did Vasco commit to end up at the business end of this vitriol? He cut a Spanish third division player from the squad.
The Mexico coach decided that Jonathan Dos Santos was not ready to be on a World Cup team. There is no denying the young boy’s talent. But he has very little top level experience (he played only a handful of minutes with Barcelona). Moreover, the position he plays got very crowded with Rafael Marquez making the conversion to the midfield. Efrain Juarez has also emerged as a very viable option. Gerardo Torrado and Israel Castro were also ahead of Jona on the depth chart.
But a World Cup is a great place for a young player to gain experience, so why not take him so that he can take it all in? References were made to other players who had gone to a world cup at a young age.
Then it got weird. Zizinho, the Dos Santos boys’ father (and agent) was interviewed by various ESPN correspondents. He was not happy, to say the least. Let me paraphrase. Both his boys were gutted, Gio wanted to leave the team, they were betrayed, Aguirre was a terrible person, Jona was just a boy, he’ll never play for Mexico again…. And on and on and on. Zizinho’s sound bytes were gold, fueling the “Mexico will fail” fire that is always smoldering in the press.
“Gio is too crestfallen to play.”
“Aguirre mortgaged the future.”
“He left Bofo and cut Jonathan. I don’t know what he’s smoking, but I want some.”
And then another report was gathering momentum: Aguirre was leaning toward Oscar Perez to be his starting keeper. When the roster numbers came out, Perez was to wear #1 on his back.
We have a two-alarm nut-job on our hands.
How on earth can this guy pick that guy to be the starting keeper?
And then Mexico had the nerve to beat Italy, 2-1.
"Gio was never even thinking of leaving."
“Oscar Perez did well and he needs our support.”
Writers were now discussing Aguirre’s moves that will lead to success in the World Cup (although not many. Leopards don’t change their spots overnight).
What was it that John Madden said? Oh yeah. “Winning is a great deodorant.”