Mexico returned to a cold and sad reality in Wednesday's 3-0 loss to Sweden in their Group F finale. The Swedes forced El Tri back into the average football that, incredibly, it had been able to sidestep through its first two World Cup matches.
Sweden's ruthless efficiency exposed Mexico's weaknesses and could have eliminated the CONCACAF giants, but Germany's own missteps propelled El Tri into the knockout rounds. But questions and uncertainty abound. There is an aura of vulnerability as Mexico is now considered a team to be easily dismissed, one whose miscues can be costly against sides who are efficient in defense and attack.
None. This thorough beating at the hands of Sweden provided glimpses of Mexico's dark side. The only positive on the day wasn't found in Ekaterinburg, but rather Kazan, where Germany couldn't earn a result against South Korea. Guillermo Ochoa kept the loss from reaching scandalous levels.
El Tri showed it will struggle when it is up against teams disciplined in defense and efficient in attack. Sweden was tactically relentless, and Mexico paid a high price for its mistakes.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Juan Carlos Osorio could not spot any of his opponent's weaknesses. He didn't make changes to his starting lineup from the win over South Korea, but in-game substitutions Marco Fabian in the middle and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona proved inadequate. Janne Andersson out-coached him on this occasion.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 6 -- Kept Sweden from the early advantage with two stupendous saves, but he paid the price for Mexico's second-half defensive mistakes. Play in goal was the highlight of the team.
DF Edson Alvarez, 4 -- Up and down. Left his post unattended twice early on. Generated opportunities when involved in the attack, as he cleared the midfield. However, the own-goal stamps his overall performance, which was a bad one.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 5 -- Was bested by Sweden's defensive prowess, which in turn overwhelmed Mexico's defense. Average overall, but Sweden rode the path up the middle to victory.
DF Hector Moreno, 5 -- Struggled with the Swedes' height advantage, but was attentive to his coverages. Struggled to stop advances up the middle, and that's where Sweden set up camp. Responsible for the penalty that proved the dagger to Mexico.
DF Jesus Gallardo, 5 -- In defense, the ball didn't wander much to his side. His yellow card inside the first minute was the earliest booking on record at a World Cup. Had a pair of advances in the attack, but didn't threaten. Went about unnoticed and was subbed out.
MF Hector Herrera, 4 -- Pulled Mexico's strings. Judiciously distributed the ball in midfield, but disappeared in the second half, much as his teammates did.
MF Andres Guardado, 5 -- Displayed smarts early on, although overall his effort was below average in comparison with others. Fabian took his place in an effort to provide the spark Guardado could not.
MF Miguel Layun, 5 -- His work up and down the sides was paramount, but he couldn't pull his weight in the attack. Finished as the left-back after Gallardo's exit. Didn't stand out this time.
FW Hirving Lozano, 6 -- "Chucky" is Mexico's key when the going gets tough. He sought the ball against the Swedes, but Mikael Lustig and Victor Lindelof made sure he didn't factor. His opponents studied him well. Was moved to the midfield, which was of little consequence. The effort was there, but he couldn't pull it off.
FW Carlos Vela, 5 -- Always a threat for three quarters of the field, but he didn't factor in the attack. Was less productive than in the first two games. Had an opportunity that would've put Mexico ahead. He shot wide, and the deficit made it difficult to give anything more than effort thereafter.
FW Javier Hernandez, 5 -- Generous with his effort, as is his custom. His hands were tied up the middle. Regularly had his back to goal, which made for a discreet performance in the first half. Could've struck, but wasn't finely tuned. Average performance.
MF Marco Fabian, 4 -- Came in to generate midfield chances and open up spaces. Shot from mid-distance early on and sought possession. Couldn't do much against Sweden's disciplined approach.
FW Jesus "Tecatito" Corona, 4 -- Had a pair of advances and a brilliant play in the area, but it was decidedly too late, with the nails already in the coffin.
FW Oribe Peralta, NR -- Entered toward the end and did not factor.