Guillermo Ochoa the one bright spot as Mexico go out in the round of 16 again
SAMARA, Russia -- Once more, Mexico fell short in their quest for that elusive fifth World Cup game ("quinto partido") -- that remains the object of their obsession. Brazil's relentless style was enough to prevail over a side that played inspired football for only 30 minutes. El Tri leave Russia on a bittersweet note, as despite a brilliant start to the World Cup with wins over Germany and South Korea, they were unable to meet the pre-tournament goals put forth by manager Juan Carlos Osorio.
The commitment to the plan. El Tri went toe-to-toe against all of its opponents. Brazil was no exception, but they were simply too good. Mexico were unable to generate the opportunities needed to overcome a team that was more experienced and physically superior.
They once more come away without reaching the famous fifth game. True, Mexico played Brazil toe-to-toe, but that's no longer enough to be included among the eight best teams in the world. El Tri can leave Russia with their head held high, but also leave without glory.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Osorio tweaked his system against Brazil, using a 1-4-1-2-3. His surprise inclusion of Rafa Marquez in the starting XI worked well initially, but the veteran's inability to stay on for 90 minutes prompted changes that weren't beneficial. Osorio, whose side lost the midfield battle, sought an upbeat style for Mexico but Brazil were far superior man to man.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 6 -- A good performance. The Mexico goalie cleared a pair of threats that could've increased the deficit. Ochoa's overall game was very good, as he made eight saves and even nixed a stupendous play from Neymar.
DF Jesus Gallardo, 5 -- Did what he could to stop Willian, who was the difference above midfield. Was hardly involved in the attack and had a prime opportunity, but instead of passing he took a shot that sailed. Was fortunate that Filipe Luis didn't get the best of him.
DF Hugo Ayala, 4 -- Was solid in defense, except for a mistake that led to the second Brazil goal. Wore down Willian whenever the Brazilian left the middle of the field. Was good in coverage but was unable to stop Neymar's advance. His second miscue meant curtains for Mexico.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 5 -- Was once more Mexico's strongest player in the back. Made a good pairing with Ayala and turned back several Brazil crosses. Without a doubt took over Hector Moreno's role and did it well. Neymar's speed on his goal was too fast to overcome.
DF Edson Alvarez, 5 -- Did well in the first quarter of the match against Neymar, who appeared invisible during that stretch. But Brazil's No. 10 had a phenomenal rest of the first half which dislodged Alvarez. From that point on, he played better football. However, appeared lost when Osorio turned him into a holding midfielder, before he was subbed.
MF Rafael Marquez, 5 -- A great first half. The Mexico midfield was impenetrable in the first half, and that's where they generated possessions. Undoubtedly, the game of his life, but physically Marquez didn't have much left for the second half. He leaves as a giant.
MF Hector Herrera, 5 -- He adjusted better at midfield after Alvarez's exit, given that he didn't generate many plays to threaten Brazil's sturdy defense. Was generous on defense and on the attack, but not enough to make a difference.
MF Andres Guardado, 5 -- Converted to midfield toward the end but didn't influence there, either. Played a step back and that hindered three-fourths of the effort up front, where Brazil turned back any possibilities.
FW Hirving Lozano, 5 -- Save for one first-half occasion, "Chucky" basically disappeared from the game. Switched sides with Carlos Vela, but opportunities were scarce there and he dried up toward the end.
FW Carlos Vela, 5 -- Shined through the first quarter of the match on the right side but gradually lost that luster, first because opportunities weren't there and second because he committed to waiting for the ball as a shortcut after Brazil's first score. Insignificant.
FW Javier Hernandez, 4 -- Didn't have a single opportunity on goal, which should tell you everything. Thiago Silva and Miranda covered him in a way that took him out of his comfort zone. Was taken out in the second half given his inefficiency on the attack.
MF Miguel Layun, 4 -- Came in for Marquez and played on the right side against Neymar. Brazil's goal was courtesy of their No. 10, but only after he slipped in through the middle. Joined the attack toward the end, but against a side in retreat to preserve the result his offensive contributions didn't carry much weight.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 3 -- Not much can be written about someone who came in to provide a spark but then went unnoticed. Contributed nothing to the attack.
FW Raul Jimenez, 3 -- Did nothing more than add to his minutes tally in Russia. With Chicharito, was just another piece of Mexico's attack.