FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Portugal's Bruno Alves stole a late stoppage time goal off of a Joao Moutinho free kick, good enough for a 1-0 victory, but despite the loss, Mexico looked dominate at times and seemed to be the better team on the night. Head coach Miguel Herrera praised his team and still found a lot to take away from the result.
Herrera fielded a strong side, possibly his starting 11 against Cameroon in Mexico's Group A opener on June 13.
“I really like how this 11 played today, it will be high percentage of the players who played today against Cameroon," said Herrera. “ Our goal will be to get to the fifth game of the World Cup, that has been our goal throughout this whole time I have been the head coach.”
Lofty goals aside, many questions still have not been answered ahead of the World Cup. With both Jesus Corona and Guillermo Ochoa splitting time against Portugal, there is still a battle for a starting keeper spot.
“After this game it is a little more tough,” Herrera said of his goalkeepers. “Corona and Ochoa both did a great job. During the week, we are going to keep suffering to decide who is going to be the starting goalie.”
Captain Rafael Marquez returned to the lineup after injuring his foot against Ecuador. The defender was at the helm for Herrera's five-defender formation, playing centrally. While El Tri did not have to deal with the injured Cristano Ronaldo, its defense still presented some concerns early on with a very shaky first half, giving Portugal plenty of early chances.
The second half saw an overall concerted effort from Mexico, with ten total attempts on goal. While defensively, the team frustrated Portugal in the final third. But for the second straight game, El Tri could not find the back of the net. Striker Oribe Peralta looks to have solidified his starting spot for the World Cup, but struggled against Portugal.
“Today I don't think he was the Oribe that we all know,” said Herrera. “You always have tough matches, but he was always there, he held the ball.”
Mexico's dominance in possession could not prevent a late set piece goal. Lack defending on free kicks has cost the team in recent friendlies and must not continue in Brazil, if the team is to reach the quarters,
“We can't lose a game like this when we have the chance to win it and were dominating.”