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Hernandez: Mexicans performing abroad

Mexico 16 hours ago
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Team Assessment Jul 1, 2014
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Mexico Jul 1, 2014
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Five Aside: Round of 16 records fall

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Jun 14, 2014

Herrera picks up mess left by Chepo

Oribe Peralta's goal was enough for Mexico on a rainy afternoon in Natal.

NATAL, Brazil -- While El Tri's victory versus Cameroon may have far less importance than the three points, it is the victory that brings with it far more benefits for the Mexican national team.

Football statistics are a fierce opponent to be up against: one has to constantly feed such an adversary in order to increase hope, worse still; this opponent likes to eat three points in every sitting.

Having said that, the victory brings with it far more benefits, thus it is much more urgently needed. The Greek Publilius Syrus once wrote "he who can overcome in victory, is twice the champion"

In the mixed zone before the game against Cameroon, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said it with a smile that distorted the speech. We understand now: it was a warning.

"A lot of us here today still have a chip on our shoulder regarding the fact that we didn't get a chance to play or we played very little during the last World Cup (South Africa 2010). We all want this to be our World Cup, and more importantly we want it to be Mexico's best World Cup" explained Ochoa.

And fate has conspired in Mexico's favour. Head coach Miguel "El Piojo" Herrera was in need of a group of individuals with the yearning for revenge, a desire to prove themselves. Among these individuals is where he will find the players that are willing to stop at nothing to win.

- Carlisle: Mexico's dominant midfield

- Marshall: Five things we learned

- Hernandez: Grades: Persistence pays off

- Canales: Mexico overcome the elements

Little by little he started to find the key components of his squad, in fact, he found them in places he least expected to find them. Among the tattered remains of the team that was left for dead during the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, having been led there by mismanagement of Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre.

Merit where it's due, not only to Herrera, but, to those wounded soldiers. The very same soldiers that at one point where condemned by De la Torre, for not being up to scratch in order to defeat their opponents and walk away with first place in CONCACAF qualifying.

This group has earned the right to claim, in the words of Ochoa, and even those of Hector Herrera "we are champions of our own adversities" -- what might have seemed like a humorous anecdote, had they not proven it on the field against Cameroon.

All, who survived the scorn and contempt of De la Torre, the same who survived the abuse of being immolated as responsible for the failure in qualifying, together, as one, have not just licked their wounds but they have literally put salt in them, their recovery has been a painful one.

Their sins will be redeemed, through their masochism and through their endurance of the endless barrage of criticism.

And Ochoa, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Herrera, Miguel Layún, Paul Aguilar, Rafa Márquez and the rest of the team, including a somewhat cowering Javier "Chicharito" Hernández, have wiped the slate clean, they are ready to fight, and they go into battle awaiting that moment of redemption.

Miguel Herrera has Mexico pointed in the right direction.
Miguel Herrera has Mexico pointed in the right direction.

Therefore, apart from giving Mexico those all important three points, this victory also provides the national team with faith and hope. While many may not, they need to have faith in themselves.

One might say that, for those mentioned, for those who have submitted themselves to adversity and beaten Cameroon, they can consider their debts paid off in full.

What we can be certain of, is the blood pact that has been entered into, on the one hand by Miguel Herrera who promises to rewrite history and on the other hand by a group of players eager to change their own experiences of having played for the national team.

Marquez at one time or another has been heard saying: the act of winning numerous cups with the clubs he has played in, particularly for Barcelona, has earned him a place in the football Hall of Fame. Yet he will not rest until he has achieved similar while wearing "my country's football shirt".

Brazil, their next challenger, awaits them in Fortaleza. Is this the final nail in the coffin for Mexico's World Cup dreams?

The contrary in fact: the fruit is ripe for the picking. The situation is best explained by the author Harriet Beecher Stowe: "the bitterest tears shed over our grave will be those of unspoken words and unfinished actions".

And they, all of them, those who came away from qualifying with their tail between their legs, have much to say for themselves and quite a bit of unfinished business.

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