MEXICO CITY -- Gone are the days of debate over Oribe Peralta’s place in Mexico’s national team.
The Santos Laguna striker, and scorer of two goals in Mexico’s 5-1 win over New Zealand, has become a key presence for El Tri, regardless of which coach is in charge.
But the 29-year-old was keen to divert any attention away from his own performance after Wednesday’s game, instead stressing the hard work the group has put in on the training field under new coach Miguel Herrera.
“I’m happy for the group, which is the most important thing,” Peralta told reporters after the game. “At the end of the day we’ve come away with a good advantage.”
“All the group are examples, we’ve worked very well since Miguel arrived and it’s something we should highlight.”
Peralta added that the players quickly got to grips with Herrera’s 5-3-2 system and said it worked “to perfection.”
Captain Rafa Marquez – who was shut out of the national team for most of 2013 with Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre as coach – is now on course to wear the armband in his fourth World Cup and was clearly delighted with the performance.
“(The win) gives us satisfaction and a lot of joy, we go there with a big cushion and now we have to recuperate as quickly as possible to confront the next game,” he said.
The former Barcelona defender also backed up his manager in stating that even with a four-goal advantage the tie is not over and Mexico’s place at Brazil 2014 isn’t 100 percent secure.