KAZAN, Russia – Mexico launched its 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign in upbeat fashion Sunday, drawing 2-2 with Portugal.
In his post-match press conference, Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio expressed his pleasure with the overall performance, emphasizing that the Tricolor went toe-to-toe with the 2016 European champion.
“We played against a top level team,” said the 56-year-old Colombian, whose team lost 7-0 to Chile in the Copa America Centenario on the same date a year earlier. “The display was dignified. We were equalz to the reigning European champion.”
“I think there are many things to improve, but I believe if I had to choose one, it is the finishing. We lacked efficiency.”
Osorio has a point. The Mexicans held advantages in possession (59%-41%) and shots attempted (11-1), but the Portuguese placed more efforts on target (5-3).
That being said, Mexico’s defense managed to limit the damage inflicted by four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo – the man of the match – and his highly-regarded teammates.
“Controlling a team that started offensively with three top-level attackers, and with their mobility, suggests that we did very well,” Osorio expressed. “We had a plan, and [Portugal goalkeeper] Rui Patricio made three saves; afterward came the [Mexican] goal.”
Portugal twice took leads and let them slip away as many times. Hector Moreno completed the scoreline in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, heading home off a Jonathan dos Santos corner kick.
“In the second half, the strategy was the same,” finished Osorio. “They sat back. I don’t know if that was their decision or because of us, but it was clear that they played a transition game from defense to attack and that’s how they scored their goals.
“We did it by developing play and we were able to score. In the end, the set piece rewards us and Hector Moreno gives a great result to Mexican football.”
Next up for Mexico is a meeting with New Zealand on Wednesday.