ESPN FC’s Stewart Robson believes Juan Carlos Osorio and Mexico hatched a perfect, counterattacking game plan against an aging Germany side.
Episode six of Project Russia takes you through Mexico fans’ rollercoaster of emotions before, during and after El Tri’s historic win over Germany.

Mexico achieved a historic 1-0 win over Germany in Russia on Sunday. Despite all predictions against them, El Tri played a remarkable first half and was able to seal its dominance with a goal and now, they earned their first three points in Group F. This upset has El Tri with one foot in the Round of 16 and provided them with a huge morale boost ahead of their upcoming matches.


Mexico was able to play against the current defending world champions without fear. During the first half, El Tri was overwhelmingly better than the German side in virtually every aspect. This will be remembered, without a doubt, as one of their best performances of all time. With this victory, Mexico claims three points that are practically gold as they are almost certain of a spot in the tournament’s next phase. Mexico’s defence was arguably perfect, too.


In the second half, Mexico lost steam and practically conceded control on the midfield. El Tri was not able to seize on all the counterattacks they generated, finding themselves unable to score that second goal. Their control of possession in the second half wasn’t at its best either.

Manager rating out of 10

8 — Juan Carlos Osorio put an offensive side on the pitch and it worked beautifully for him. He also made all the necessary changes to strengthen his wings. Osorio even played with three wingers in Herrera, Guardado and Edson Alvarez. He ended up putting his whole team on the defensive side, because when it comes to the World Cup, all victories are important, and three points are almost enough for advancing to the next round.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Guillermo Ochoa, 7 — He was solid and secure. Ochoa was unflappable and that confidence spread to the rest of his team. He also saved a huge shot by Toni Kroos to preserve the win.

DF Carlos Salcedo, 6 — He scared the whole side in the first half with a kick that almost ended up as an own goal. He looked quite good on the right. Despite the fact he is not known for creating in attack, he was able to hold his own.

DF Hugo Ayala, 6 — Had good coverage. Quick. Provided solutions at the back and always with his eye on the play. The German attack was flat in the first half and he was helped by his teammates. In the second half, it was practically the same case: Germany tried to go all-in up front but couldn’t go much further.

DF Hector Moreno, 6 — During the first half he demonstrated that he is not a speedster. However, he was able to recover and make timely interventions, helping to withstand Germany’s attempts in attack.

DF Jesus Gallardo, 6 — Solid on his touchline but didn’t have a huge workload. He had some interesting attacking interventions at times and was also also helped during the second half by the emergence of Alvarez, who came on to support him down the left. Very attentive on dangerous plays.

MF Hector Herrera, 6 — The winger fully assumed his role in midfield. Was not much of a passer but knew how to create some moves whenever he passed. He did enjoy one huge dribble that made him worthy of an ovation from Mexico’s supporters.

Lozano was Mexico’s best player on Sunday and helped El Tri to a famous victory over the defending champions.

MF Andres Guardado, 5 — Quite a prolific defender, intercepting plenty of balls that helped kickstart Mexico’s counterattacks.

MF Miguel Layun, 6 — Strong effort from him, both in attack and as a defender. He was a rocket on the right touchline. Went for some mid-distance shots but represented no threat to Manuel Neuer. He could have scored Mexico’s second goal on a counter but didn’t compose himself sufficiently before shooting.

MF Hirving Lozano, 7 — Mexico’s best player. “Chucky” showed the level of performance that made him one of the best players at PSV last season. He was quick, powerful and downright dangerous on the right touchline, with his goal crowning a superb first half. It was the well-deserved medal for his participation on his side’s attack.

MF Carlos Vela, 5 — Handled the ball with authority and his composed play in possession helped set up Mexico’s attack. Had a shot to goal that was not dangerous. Maybe he lacked ruthlessness at attack and ball distribution. However, his performance was fair.

FW Javier Hernandez, 6 — “Chicharito” combined with Lozano for the game’s only goal. Had a golden chance to score but took a step back instead of kicking to goal. He is always unselfish in his effort and that’s where his virtues lie. Helpful from box to box.


MF Edson Alvarez, 5 — Came on in the 58th minute and went to the left touchline and helped Gallardo. Played as a winger next to Guardado in order to hold Germany back. He played with wit. At the match’s final stages, he went through the right touchline and helped to hold all German attempts in attack. The side ended up with a line of five.

FW Raul Jimenez, 4 — He did too little, next to nothing after coming on in the 66th minute. Was more of a defensive player instead of helping on attack. His attacking efforts were none. However, his strength and height were helpful for holding all German attempts to the right.

MF Rafa Marquez, NR — Played as a winger after coming in with 16 minutes remaining. Osorio wanted to put some brakes on Germany’s midfield because during the second half, Mexico was losing steam. Was helpful in avoiding a tie from the Germans. However, he did not create up front. The best part? He is officially playing his fifth World Cup.


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