Here on Casual Hooligans we will be providing a quick breakdown and of every World Cup match with a quick rating and some discussion about the match including our general takeaway from the game. If you’re being forced to DVR the games and watch after the fact, we encourage you to check out the rating of the game in the title to determine which games should be the highest priority. If you don’t wish to know more about the game (namely the result) then here is your spoiler alert! Spoilers are below! Do not continue reading if you want the result to be a surprise! So without further ado…
The second match of the World Cup kicked off with both Mexico and Cameroon knowing three points would be vital with the likes of Brazil and Croatia on the docket in the near future. Mexican manager, Miguel Herrera, chose to leave Manchester United striker, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, on the bench to start the game in favor of Giovani Dos Santos and Oribe Peralta. Leaving such a high profile talent on the bench certainly seemed a risky move, but Mexico validated Herrera’s first-team selections from the opening whistle. Mexico began the game on the front foot possessing the ball in Cameroon’s half for the majority of the first ten minutes of the game. For as good as Mexico looked, Cameroon were equally as poor.
Unfortunately after a mere ten minutes, the second game of the World Cup followed the trend of the first and controversial refereeing became the storyline. Mexico swung a cross from the right side of the field into the box behind the Cameroonian defense perfectly in stride for Dos Santos who finished with technical excellence first time. The linesman flagged a clearly onside Dos Santos for offside and the goal was disallowed. A real howler from the linesman and an unfortunate break for the Mexicans who thoroughly deserved a goal.
The rain began to pour in Natal as Cameroon were able to recover slightly and threatened the Mexican goal on a couple of occasions, even scoring a disallowed goal of their own for offside (although this one was correctly called). A Samuel Eto’o misfire and an iffy (at best) penalty shout for Cameroon followed by a scramble in the box would be about as threatening as Cameroon would look the entire match.
Mexico was able to regain control when the match took another controversial turn in the 34th minute as the same main characters would be involved in a similar scenario to the first one. A Mexican corner kick delivered into the box took a deflection off the head of a Cameroon defender before being headed in at the back post by Dos Santos in what can only be described as a “Chicharito-esque” goal. A real right-place-right-time poacher’s goal was not to be as the linesman once again incorrectly flagged Dos Santos for offside and the goal was disallowed. The teams would go into the half tied at zeros. Herrera’s decision to start Dos Santos and Peralta seemed and sit Hernandez seemed to be paying off (except for Herrera’s complete failure to consider the personal vendetta the linesman would have against Dos Santos). 120 minutes into the World Cup and the controversial refereeing was the undebatable headline of the World Cup.
The second half began with nearly the same pattern as the first. The rain continued to drench players and fans as Mexico continued to dominate the ball and were the only side to create any meaningful goal scoring opportunities. A nice bit of play ending with a wonderful touch from Dos Santos put Peralta in on goal who was denied with a nice save by Cameroon goalkeeper, Charles Itandje. Mexico finally got the goal they thoroughly deserved in the 61st minute. A through ball put Dos Santos in on goal whose initial effort was saved by Itandje but Peralta was there to slot home the rebound. Dos Santos was once again at the heart of a meaningful attack for Mexico and the referees could find no way to deny the Mexicans for a third time in the match.
“Chicharito” would make an appearance in place of Peralta for the final 15 minutes and looked pretty sharp with the time he was given. Three in-form strikers is certainly a good problem for Herrera to have, especially with games against Brazil and Croatia left where goals will certainly be needed. Cameroon were able to direct one dangerous header on target in the final few minutes but it proved to be too little too late as Ochoa was equal to the task. Overall, Mexico cruised to a comfortable win…much more comfortable than the scoreline indicated thanks to some shoddy refereeing.
Man of the Match: Giovani Dos Santos
Outlook for Mexico: A solid start. Three huge points, but with tests against Brazil and Croatia still to come they’re a long way from feeling good about advancing.
Outlook for Cameroon: Grim…maybe they were still too busy worrying about World Cup compensation to worry about playing against Mexico. They might be lucky to find the back of the net even once this World Cup.
Match Rating: I’ll give this match a 7/10 for some good football from Mexico, plenty of controversy, and a torrential downpour never hurt a football match in my book.
What were your thoughts about this match? Let us know what you think!