By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Despite dropping their last match to Sweden, Mexico advances to the Round of the 16 with the help of a former opponent.
Mexico won back-to-back matches at the 2018 World Cup following a 2-1 victory over South Korea marking the first time since winning their first two matches at the 2002 World Cup. However, El Tri fell short of making history after falling 3-0 to Sweden for their final group match.
It’s been an emotional tournament for Carlos Vela after his grandfather passed away following their opening match win over Germany, nevertheless, he remained focused on the task at hand. Vela has been a key player in all three matches as he continuously created dangerous plays. As well, becoming LAFC’s first player to score a goal in the World Cup when he converted a penalty breaking a scoreless drought during their scuffle with South Korea on June 23.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez added to the score in the 66th minute when he drilled a clipped ball from Lozano into the right corner past South Korea’s keeper becoming the first player to score 50 goals for Mexico. After going scoreless for 180 minutes in the tournament, South Korea’s Son Heung-min found the net during stoppage time with a screamer from 20 yards. Mexico rushed into action to prevent the Tigers from leveling the match for the remaining time securing their 2-1 victory.
The Swedish match was a whole different story. After getting hit by a multitude of controversial calls – and receiving nightmarish penalty call flashbacks – El Tri fought hard looking for their third-straight victory. But despite all efforts, they ultimately fell 3-0. Mexico was given hope after South Korea defeated Germany in a shocking 2-0 victory eliminating the reigning World Cup champions.
El Tri will go on to face Brazil in the Round of 16 on Monday, July 2. Kickoff is set for 9 a.m. CT.
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