Mexico’s fate going into the 2014 FIFA World Cup was far from guaranteed.
Facing a tough group of Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon, the Mexicans desperately needed a win over the latter on Friday if they wanted to have any chance of making it out of Group A.
And they did just that.
Oribe Peralta scored in the 61st minute, which would prove to be the winning goal in El Tri’s 1-0 victory over the Indomitable Lions .
Head coach Miguel Herrera’s decision to start Peralta at striker ahead of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was not a popular one, but it proved to be the right move.
Still, it wasn’t easy for Mexico. The game took place in a torrential downpour, and Mexico’s Giovanni Dos Santos actually put two goals past Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje before Peralta’s, but both were disallowed.
“We could have scored more, but unfortunately we’re not used to these conditions,” Herrera said, according to the Associated Press. “Frankly, the refereeing took away two clear goals, but at the end of the day you’ve got to work for it, and we get to the next match with three points and very high spirits.”
Herrera also had another decision tested and passed with flying colors.
Herrera chose to start goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who had been a reserve in the last two World Cups. Cameroon’s lack of scoring chances didn’t let Ochoa show that he had what it takes for much of the game, but he made a victory-clinching save on Benjamin Moukandjo’s header in the game’s final minutes.