Mexico

Luis Suarez shows how far Mexico's next generation has to go

9/8/18
Mexico
Mexico v Uruguay
World Cup
Uruguay
Friendlies
L. Suárez
The Barcelona star had two goals and an assist with a young El Tri unable to cope with a player of his experience
Article continues below

Luis Suarez drank it in as he left the NRG Stadium pitch in the 68th minute of Uruguay's 4-1 victory over Mexico. He gave the referee a wink when the official tried to speed his exit. He applauded the crowd in all directions, only for the boos to grow louder.

They should have stood and applauded.

The Barcelona forward had just delivered an incredible performance and given Mexico's next generation a lesson about just how far they have to go.

Related

That performance consisted of a pair of goals, the first on a free kick and the second from the penalty spot, plus an assist.

Article continues below

The 31-year-old showed his experience when he won the penalty. Realizing he was running alongside Jesus Angulo in the box, Suarez slowed his pace just enough for the 20-year-old filling in at left center back to think he had a chance at the ball. A quick hit of the turbo button and an ill-timed clip later and he was placing the ball on the penalty spot, about to send Guillermo Ochoa diving before he put in a panenka for his second goal of the match.

If the panenka was showy, his assist for Uruguay's fourth was downright disrespectful. After a cross from the right side of the box was cleared, Suarez found himself alone with the ball and Gaston Pererio making a run. He hit a rabona right to the PSV attacker, who headed it in to put the contest well out of the reach of a young Mexico team.

El Tri's interim manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti said leading into this match that his players should be judged more on how they play and how they develop than the result of this game and the contest next week against the United States. And looking at the starting XIs, it was fair to expect Mexico to struggle a bit.

Wearing green, only four players who started a match at the 2018 World Cup started on the field. In sky blue, nine of the 11 players were part of the side that fell short against eventual champion France in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

"Without a doubt they have very skilled players," Ferretti said after the match. "Talking about them, well I think that would be too much. When you just think about where they play, that speaks for itself." 

Mexico wasn't played off the field. The quality of a player like Hirving Lozano, who won a penalty and had a fair appeal for a second, was obvious as he battled with Martin Caceres and Jose Maria Gimenez. His connection with Jesus Gallardo, who dealt with his challenges well at left back, also continued to remain strong. Raul Jimenez had a good game as a central forward, with the idea he'll replace Chicharito as the No. 9 of choice some time this cycle continuing to seem like a good one.

Those players, of course, already have World Cup experience. The younger players struggled - at least those who started. Roberto Alvarado and Diego Lainez made good cameos in the second half, as did Jonathan Gonzalez, who - perhaps worryingly - was an enormous upgrade over the more experienced Jonathan dos Santos in central midfield. 

"It's really good. Playing these types of national team really helps us and these lessons motivate us to get better. I'm really happy about how the team worked together as well," Lainez said.

El Tri is wise to use these games to toss players into the deep end against competitive teams. The experience players like Angulo got against World Cup veterans will serve them well. Angulo isn't going to forget what it was like to play against a player that has the talent Suarez does. His challenge now is to work on the training ground to make sure that if they meet again some time over the next four years that he's raised his level enough to make sure Mexico fans are cheering their own player rather than booing the opposition.