The Porto midfielder led Mexico in passes completed, duels won and recoveries as El Tri secured passage to the round of 16 with a 3-1 win over Croatia.
Learning the ins and outs of coach Miguel Herrera's 5-3-2 system has taken some time. Injuries before the World Cup to Juan Carlos Medina and Luis Montes added more variables to the equation.
But Hector Herrera has been the constant. After kicking off the World Cup with two rock-solid performances for El Tri, the Porto midfielder did it all Monday as Mexico clinched passage to the round of 16 with a 3-1 win over Croatia.
Serving as an imposing box-to-box force, Herrera led Mexico with 44 passes completed, nine duels won and eight recoveries. While maintaining an impressive 85 percent passing accuracy, Herrera managed to complete eight entry balls into the final third. And the 24-year-old picked up the assist on Mexico's opener by whipping in the corner kick that Rafa Marquez nodded home.
With a goal and an assist, veteran center back Rafa Marquez came through in the clutch once more. Andres Guardado found net as well, and wing back Paul Aguilar was a regular threat going forward. Yet Herrera was the one who kept Mexico humming along, controlling the midfield tempo and nearly scoring when he struck the crossbar with an early long-range effort.
With holding midfielder Jose Juan Vazquez suspended for Mexico's round of 16 match against the Netherlands, even more will be asked of Herrera. Likely deploying a three-man midfield of Nigel de Jong, Jonathan de Guzman and Wesley Sneijder, the Oranje will present a tall task for Herrera and Co.
But if Herrera's group stage form is any indication, he'll be ready.