Jesus Gallardo, Oribe Peralta look unusable for Mexico in final tune-up
Following a decent start to Saturday's friendly against Denmark, Mexico eventually stuttered in a second half which led to a 2-0 defeat. With Russia 2018 set to start in less than a week, the result wasn't ideal for confidence in the final preparatory match before the World Cup.
Silver-lining: There appear to be no injuries. With Nestor Araujo already ruled out of the team -- and fitness worries regarding Hector Moreno, Andres Guardado and Diego Reyes -- the last thing that Mexico needed was another setback.
The attack must once again be questioned. In Mexico's four friendlies before the World Cup, the squad only found the back of the net once in over 360 minutes of play. Defensively, the team still seems highly vulnerable.
While El Tri undoubtedly has the talent to succeed in Russia, it also has a number of weaknesses that can be highlighted during the upcoming group stage.
Manager rating (out of 10):
5 -- It's fair for Juan Carlos Osorio to worry about further injuries. In retrospect, that might be why he left several starters on the bench. Yet, with the World Cup set to begin in less than a week, it would have be more ideal to see the likes of Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and Miguel Layun in Saturday's starting XI.
For those who support Osorio, the recent loss was a small roadblock in what should be a good World Cup. For those who oppose him, the defeat proves that their perception of him as an unpredictable mad scientist are not exaggerated.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 7 -- Despite the fact that he allowed two goals, Ochoa was one of the more impressive players on the pitch. He'll likely need to be just as good, if not better, against Germany.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 7 -- Whether it be as a right-back or central defender, Salcedo is worthy of a starting role. More of the blame for the second goal allowed, which was near Salcedo's area of the pitch, should be put on Rafael Marquez.
DF Hector Moreno, 4 -- An off day for the central defender who is usually more reliable. Moreno might need more time to adjust after returning from his injury.
DF Hugo Ayala, 5 -- Difficult to feel confident about Ayala. He emerged with the occasional clearance and tackle, but was also regularly a step or two behind Denmark's counters. A questionable mistake from the player nearly cost his team a goal as well.
DF Jesus Gallardo, 2 -- Mexico's weak link. Gallardo was lost in the defense and attack throughout the match. Osorio must consider leaving him on the bench in the World Cup.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 5 -- Although Dos Santos looked efficient with his passing, he was also at times far too quiet in the midfield. It's still up in the air whether the LA Galaxy player will be a starter or not for in the World Cup.
MF Hector Herrera, 7 -- Credit must be given to Herrera for his clever and accurate passes. As Mexico's defensive midfielder, the 28-year-old was once again vital in the XI. It's no surprise that the team struggled after he was taken off of the field.
MF Andres Guardado, 6 -- It's clear that Guardado also needs time to become fully fit. Although he looked better than Moreno, Mexico's captain was still slightly off his usual active game in the midfield.
FW Giovani dos Santos, 4 -- The older Dos Santos brother had plenty to prove, and failed. Instead of thriving on the wing, the 29-year-old was far too conservative in the attack.
FW Oribe Peralta, 3 -- Peralta will be lucky to show up in a starting XI in the World Cup. The striker lacked goalscoring opportunities and didn't connect well with the rest of his squad.
FW Jesus Corona, 7 -- A bright light in a rocky friendly for Mexico. "Tecatito" provided much-needed attacking threat with his dribbling and creativity on the wing. All he needs to work on his giving the ball up a bit earlier.
MF Rafael Marquez, 3 -- Was substituted on for Herrera during half-time. Marquez showed all 39 years of his age against Denmark. In spite of his handful of good passes, the Mexico legend was far too slow and lacked a debilitating amount of pace.
DF Edson Alvarez, 5 -- Was substituted on for Moreno during half-time. Not much to say about Alvarez in his 45 minutes of play. The youngster rarely pushed up the field and was left chasing the ball in a couple of defensive situations on the right flank.
MF Marco Fabian, 6 -- Was substituted on for Guardado during half-time. Mexico fans will appreciate his dangerous shots from his distance, but other than that, Fabian provided very little in the attack.
FW Hirving Lozano, 5 -- Was substituted on for Giovani dos Santos on 57 minutes. With limited time on the field, Lozano was nowhere to be found in the final third. A forgetful cameo for the PSV player.
MF Miguel Layun, 7 -- Came on for Jonathan dos Santos in the 60th minute. An admirable showing from Layun. The versatile player was eager to make something happen in the attack and was very vertical with his style of play.
FW Javier Hernandez, 7 -- On for Peralta during the 60th minute. Nearly had a goal but ultimately finished with a chance that hit the post. We also can't overlook a couple of unexpected dribbles that helped create some late opportunities.
Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.