The Mexican national team held their final game at the Azteca Stadium prior to making their way to Brazil for the world’s biggest sporting event. Mexico defeated the Israeli national team 3-0 in Mexico City in a game where fans also said goodbye to the legendary Cuauhtémoc Blanco.
Mexico was owner and sole proprietor of the pitch at the Colossus of Santa Ursula and gave Blanco the opportunity to shine in his last game wearing the national team jersey. The former Club America and Chicago Fire striker did as he pleased on the field of his former home. After 37 minutes on the field, Miguel “Piojo” Herrera removed the player to an ovation.
After Blanco left the pitch the Mexican national side turned their game on and went on the attack. While the team was moving forward for the first 37 minutes, it was more of a show for Blanco. Once the three-time FIFA World Cup participant left the pitch the Mexican goals landed. The team adjusted and went back to its attacks from the wings.
With the players in position to Herrera’s liking, Miguel Layun appeared with two minutes left in the first half. The winger grabbed the ball from a distance, as he is known to do with Club America. With a powerful hit that goalkeeper Ariel Harush could not contain. Mexico took the 1-0 lead into the break.
The Israelis had very little to show on the field. The second half was once again played on their side of the field. If it were not for Mexico’s inconsistencies, the scoreboard could have had a higher score in El Tri’s favor.
Layun found himself with a similar play in the 62nd minute of play and fired into the same area where Harush had failed to stop him at the end of the first half. He exploited Israel’s weakness and turned the scoreboard in Mexico’s favor, 2-0.
Herrera gave Jose de Jesus Corona another opportunity to guard the posts. But a collision with defender Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez forced the coach to bring in Guillermo Ochoa. The AC Ajaccio keeper of France’s Ligue 1 had not been on the pitch minutes when he made his first intervention. Ochoa began his career at the Azteca and the fans cheered in approval.
Mexico maintained control of the sphere and did what they pleased against the Israelis. But they would get one more goal in the 85th minute of play. Marco Fabian de la Mora broke the net to give Mexico the final 3-0. Mexico and Israel had faced each other on two previous occasions. The first was an international friendly match in Tel Aviv in 1975 that ended 1-0 in Israel’s favor. The following year the squads faced on in Montreal during the Olympics. The Israelis came from behind to draw the game 2-2.
Mexico will travel to Dallas to take on Ecuador in their next game on May 31, 2014 before facing Bosnia-Herzegovina at Soldier Field Chicago. Their final game is against Portugal at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. before traveling to Brazil 2014.