Mexican wave sinks Cameroon

Mexican wave sinks Cameroon

Mexico got just rewards for their attacking intent when Oribe Peralta's 61st minute strike gave them a 1-0 win over Cameroon in their World Cup opener at a rain-saturated Dunas arena on Friday.

The Mexicans had two Giovani dos Santos efforts controversially disallowed in the first half but Peralta's goal means they will now feel they have a good chance of progressing from Group A, which also includes hosts Brazil and Croatia.

Cameroon, who only arrived in Brazil after a player strike was averted by last-minute negotiations, had packed their midfield in an attempt to stifle the Mexicans and lone striker Samuel Eto'o failed to find the goal with his few opportunities.

Mexico came out to attack as coach Miguel Herrera had promised and "El Tri" dominated the opening exchanges with wingbacks Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar getting plenty of space out wide.

Dos Santos first found the net with a neat volley after 11 minutes but was called back despite appearing to be in line with the defenders.

Cameroon could have taken the lead after 21 minutes when fullback Benoit Assou-Ekotto beat two defenders and found Eto'o in the box but the striker was able only hit the outside of the post.

Eto'o had another chance three minutes later but was unable to control the ball.

Mexico should have been in front after 29 minutes when Andres Guardado's free kick from the right found Rafael Marquez and Hector Moreno unmarked at the far post but the opportunity went begging. If the decision to deny dos Santos a first goal could be called a marginal call, the second after half an hour was a clear error.

A corner swung in from the left was flicked on by one Cameroon defender and, as another raced off the line, dos Santos managed to turn back and head the ball into the net. 

Dos Santos was released through the middle of the Cameroon defence and when Itandje managed to stop his low drive, Peralta was on hand to steer the ball into the empty net and send Herrera and the thousands of Mexican fans into paroxysms of joy.

Coach delighted

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera pledged to repay his country’s fans who he said would “sell their houses, cars and even pawn their grandma’s clothes to come to Brazil” by battling to keep their World Cup dream alive.

Cameroon, who limped home from South Africa four years ago without a point from their three games, face a repeat if they fail to beat Croatia next week before their final group clash against Brazil on June 23.

The Aztecs face the hosts, 3-1 winners over Croatia on Thursday, in nearby Fortaleza on June 17, but an opening day win means Mexico could afford to slip up and still grab one of the top two qualifying places.

Herrera, who has boldly declared Mexico’s intention of going all the way to the final and “making history” -- their best result is making the quarterfinals -- said he was “ecstatic” about his players’ performance. Part of it, he said, was down to the sizeable Mexican support which he said will be repaid by battling performances from now on.


“The Mexico fans were unbelievable and I think there are going to be thousands of them in all the stadiums throughout,” said Herrera.

“They’ve done the impossible just to come to Brazil to support us, selling their houses, cars and even pawning their grandmother’s clothes! They made us feel like we were playing at the Azteca.”

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