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June 22, 2013
• Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Referee: F. Brych
• Attendance: 52690
S. Okazaki 86'
J. Hernández 54', 66'
Right, that's it from us! We hope that you enjoyed Goal's coverage of Mexico's 2-1 Confederations Cup win over Japan, I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you all again next time!
Japan finish bottom of Group A despite showing glimpses of genuine progression and technical ability. Mexico probably have more to work on, shown through their dependence on Hernandez for goals, but a few changes tonight showed the possible handing of responsibility to the younger players at De La Torre's disposal.
There was almost a feeling that Japan might just grab something at the end of that game, after a great save from Kawashima to deny Hernandez, but it wasn't to be. They just couldn't replicate the intensity shown in their game against Italy.
That's it! Mexico finish third in Group A, thanks to two goals from Javier Hernandez! The Man United man could have grabbed a hat-trick but for a late penalty miss, while an Okazaki goal turned out to be merely a consolation for Japan.
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Francisco Guillermo Ochoa
90' + 3'
Poor ball from Uchida there! Japan are trying to put together a few last ditch attacks, but a poor delivery gives Ochoa the chance to run down the clock. After that penalty save, anything seems possible, but Japan are running out of time.
90' + 2'
Missed Penalty Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
SAVED AND CROSSBAR! Kawashima gets a great hand to Hernadez' first attempt, before the penalty taker smashes the rebound against the bar! Fantastic stuff!
90' + 2'
Penalty save Eiji Kawashima
90' + 1'
PENALTY! Hernandez is brought down by Uchida clumsily, and Mexico's goalscorer can wrap up his hat-trick here!
Mexico seems happy to run down the clock and pack the midfield, introducing Aquino before stoppage time. There are FIVE additional minutes.
After both Mexico defenders are helped back to their feet and given the required treatment after clashing with Ochoa, they can't feel sorry for themselves as they've got a game on their hands now. The Japan support is really getting behind their team now.
Good punch from Ochoa! The Mexico goalkeeper takes out two of his own defenders to punch away a dangerous delivery which seemed destined for Honda's head!
Assist Yasuhito Endō
Goal Shinji Okazaki
GOOOOAL! OKAZAKI! Great work from Kagawa to switch the play to Endo at the back post, before the Japanese captain squared the ball to Okazaki, who taps home!
This game is petering out a little, with only both sides' substitutes really having anything to prove! As I type this, Hernandez goes inches wide of a hat-trick! A lofted ball from the right narrowly evades his head, and he can't quite get the goalscoring contact required.
OKAZAKI! That's Japan's best chance of the game! A set piece was whipped it accurately to Okazaki, with the forward stretching to turn the ball home. Instead of passing the ball home with his instep, he could only get a toe to it, and it goes agonizingly wide!
Another Hosogai pass fails to reach its intended target, as Okazaki doesn't get a foot to his through ball to control it. There's a definite Japanese frustration now and after all of their half chances you can understand why, it probably doesn't feel like anything is going right.
There's a certain lethargy to this game now, that's for sure. Plenty of niggling injuries and fouls, with substitutions taking the momentum out of either sides' attempts to score.
Giovani dos Santos
KONNO! The defender finds himself at the byline in the Mexico penalty area, but Ochoa does enough to palm behind a strong cross from Konno! Another half chance, which Japan need to take one of.
Japan really do look to be struggling for ideas at the moment. Mexico are sitting in their shape well, but Japan aren't moving the ball quick enough to exploit any slow movement of Mexico's defenders. That first half intensity is nowhere to be seen.
Nagatomo has gone off the field for treatment, after complaining of pain in his knee, it looks like. It looks like the Inter full-back might have to be replaced here, as the physios are signalling to the Japanese bench.
DOS SANTOS! Kawashima another Dos Santos effort wide of his post, despite it looking to be on its way out of play anyway. The Japan goalkeeper hasn't look the most convincing, it must be said.
Unfortunate for Mier there, the full-back has put in yet another terrible cross. Under no pressure, he loops the ball way over Kawashima's crossbar. More substitutes seem to be on the cards for Japan soon, as things are beginning to look a little desperate.
CLOSE! Okazaki almost had the chance to make it 2-1! A great cross from Nagatomo just evades his teammate, and yet another half chance for Japan goes begging.
Mexico look to be in total control here. Cries of "Olé" from the crowd are always a good gauge of whether a team are holding onto the ball rather well! Japan look a little tired and low on ideas - apart from Kagawa of course.
Off the balance of the second half, that goal was no less than Mexico deserved. Japan seem to be heading out of this competition with less than a whimper, unless they can grab a goal in the next ten minutes or so.
Assist H. Mier
Goal Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
GOOOOOAL! HERNANDEZ AGAIN! A Mexico set piece is flicked on at the near post, before their goalscorer comes steaming in at the back post one again to double El Tri's advantage!
The first signs of the Japan tiring comes in the form of Nagatomo being unwilling to try and chase a Hosogai pass that was overhit. Normally the Inter man would be a willing runner, but perhaps the climate is taking its toll.
Mexico are happy to slow this game down now. Japan have shuffled their pack, and I can only presume that El Tri aren't to keen on their opponents gaining any momentum off the back of it. Honda is just starting to influence the game a little again.
CLOSE! Nagatomo gets to the byline and whips in a powerful cross to the near post in search of Okazaki, but Ochoa catches the ball as the Japanese forward stretches to meet it. That was a matter of inches!
MAEDA! That was very close! The Japan striker brushes the sidenetting with a left-footed drive, and I think that Ochoa was totally beaten! Desperately unlucky, his performances in this tournament deserve a goal.
DOS SANTOS! The Mexico forward hits the upright with a half volley, with Kawashima covering his post well. The referee decides to give a corner, strangely, but the Japan keeper managed to punch it away easily.
CLOSE! Kagawa's touch fails him, and another half chance goes begging for Japan. They've just not managed to continue their slick counter attacking moves, and that would've been a big lifeline for them. To go out of the competition in this manner would be fairly embarrassing.
Japan aren't quite doing enough in this game, the first twenty minutes seem an age ago. Kagawa has looked subdued in the second half and it's no surprise that their manager is opting to utilise his substitutes.
Once clear cut chance for Hernandez, and it's one goal. No less than Mexico deserve either, they've been fantastic in this second half. Japan are yet to really contribute, Kagawa and Honda have been quiet since the break.
Assist A. Guardado
Goal Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
GOOOOOOAL! HERNANDEZ! The Little Pea has done it! The Manchester United man heads home at the near post, after a delightful front post delivery from Guardado! I think that Guardado's delivery may have taken a deflection off Sakai's toe, but it's a great poacher's goal nonetheless!
Mexico are piling on the pressure! Japan are being pegged back a little, but last ditch defending having to be implemented to keep this game goalless. El Tri are stroking the ball around with confidence and purpose.
DOS SANTOS! Hosogai make a brilliant block! The Mexico danger man cuts in from the right, blasting a left-footed effort towards the top corner, but Hosogai heads it out for a corner! Jimenez is then denied by Kawashima from the resulting set piece.
Good clearance by Kurihara! The central defender has looked solid in place of Yoshida, and makes a good interception to deny Hernandez a chance on goal. Resolute defending is really starving Chicharito of opportunities at the moment.
Great block! Hernandez tries an effort from the edge of the box, on the turn, but sees it blocked well by a wall of blue shirts. The Mexico striker appeals for handball, but the referee isn't remotely interested.
A quiet start to the second half, and there is similarly a lull in crowd noise. I'm not too sure if everyone has got back to their seats yet, but the atmosphere is certainly more light-hearted now. Neither side have strung together a meaningful spell of possession yet.
The start of the second half is signalled by the referee's whistle, with this game poised to go either way! Both teams more than capable of grabbing a goal.
The mascots are doing their laps of the field, with a party atmosphere inside Belo Horizonte, but we all know that football is the most important thing here tonight! After that goalless first half, what are your predictions for the end of this game? Tweet them to me at: @simonhfootball.
Early half chances fell to the likes of Kagawa, with an Okazaki goal disallowed for offside, but after the 25 minute mark, everything went Mexico's way. Guardado had the best chance of the first half, striking the inside of the post with an unmarked header, but things are level at the break.
There we go, the half time whistle! Kawashima won't be too happy with his final contribution, punching a long range effort uncertainly out of play when it looked as though it could be caught, but Japan won't mind too much. After a bright start from Japan, Mexico have gotten right back in this game.
Oh dear Okazaki! Sakai is found fantastically on the right hand side courtesy of a crossfield ball, before thumping the ball into Okazaki's feet on the edge of the box. Instead of trying to get an inch of space to shoot, Okazaki holds onto the ball too long and is dispossessed! Kawashima is then tested with a long range effort!
Good claim from Kawashima! The Japan goalkeeper gets up well to take a corner out of the air, which is a good contribution given that he's been unoccupied for large portions of the game. Importantly, he hasn't switched off.
KAGAWA! A Honda corner falls kindly to Kagawa, but he snatches at his shot! He embarrassingly kicks at the air rather than the ball, and the chance escapes him. Both sides really haven't got their shooting boots on so far.
Dos Santos has really met his match tonight! The winger has tried to utilise his silky skills to beat his full-back, but Nagatomo is really dominating him. I'd perhaps hazard a guess that the Japan defender is a little quicker.
POST! GUARDADO! Torres is picked out on the left by Dos Santos, before taking two attempts to find a white shirt in the penalty box! The second delivery finds Guardado unmarked, but the Valencia man can't turn it home! With Kawashima beaten, the ball rattles the inside of the post before Endo clears.
Moreno gets up well! The defender was judged to have climbed on Konno however, and thus a free-kick is given. Mexico are piling some good pressure on in the last ten minutes - Kawashima still hasn't been tested though.
Yellow Card Hiroki Sakai
HONDA! Oh dear! Nagatomo picks out Honda in the Mexico penalty area with a well weighted ball, but his teammate misses the delivery as he attempted an ambitious volley! Inside of striking the ball with his intended foot, the ball instead struck off his thigh.
Now it's Konno's turn to deny Hernandez! Mier bombed down the right flank well, before squaring the ball in search of Chicharito, but Konno manages to blast the ball behind for a corner rather than risk the Mexico striker touching the ball in their penalty area.
Great defending from Kurihara! Hernandez looks to be through on goal with the opportunity to put Mexico ahead, but the central defender covers across well to deny him the chance to get his shot away. Good stuff.
Torrado looks to be in a bit of pain after clashing with an opponent's elbow in an aerial battle. Mexico are improving, that's for sure, but they aren't quiet stringing together good service for Hernandez - a common theme for their entire tournament.
HERNANDEZ! After poor service for half an hour, the Mexico striker has two opportunities to fire an effort at Kawashima's goal in two minutes! The latter is blocked however. The Man United forward then fails to spread the play to Dos Santos, and Nagatomo clears the danger.
Poor ball from Dos Santos! The former Tottenham forward was released down the right flank by Jimenez, but can't find Hernandez with a really badly weighted through ball. Ochoa claims with ease.
Thankfully for El Tri, they've come back into this game ever so slightly. Although Kawashima has still remained unchallenged, Mexico have seen more possession than their opponents in the last ten minutes. Mier doesn't reflect this improvement however, as he comically slices a cross out of play for a goal kick.
ZAVALA! He beats his marker well at the back post, after Japan conceded a free-kick rather harshly for handball. He can't direct his header goalwards though, and it flies harmlessly over Kawashima's bar.
That was a nasty challenge from Sakai! He receives only a warning from the referee, despite catching Hernandez with his studs raised following an attempted sliding tackle. Those kind of fouls aren't what Mexico and Manchester United fans want to see!
HONDA! After patient build up play around Mexico's penalty area, Honda is able to sidestep the challenge of his opponent and try an effort with his trusty left foot. It's comfortable for Ochoa however, as he smothers Honda's effort low down to his left.
The game has just quietened down a little bit in the last five minutes, with Mexico finally getting a slight foothold in the game. Even when they see more of the ball, Japan still seem the more dangerous force.
Over twenty minutes gone, and still no opportunities for Mexico. Hernandez has held the ball up quite well so far, but his side's usually tricky wingers haven't had too much joy. Guardado is normally an attacking force in himself, but the Valencia man has only conjured up one meaningful contribution.
Mier looked to be injured a moment ago, but the Mexico right-back now looks okay to continue. I'm not too sure what his complaint is, but Mexico will be glad that he can stay on the field.
Dos Santos is struggling a little bit so far, his pace is normally one of his most potent weapons, but Nagatomo is every inch as quick as the Mexican winger. All of Japan's players have good engines too, so it'll be interesting to see whether Dos Santos can grow into the game or not.
Porto-bound Diego Reyes makes a great interception for Mexico, preventing a corner and nullifying a dangerous attack in the process. He's regarded to be a candidate for the next captain of El Tri.
OKAZAKI! A good run from Kurihara results in the defender slipping Okazaki in behind his marker, as the Japanese forward uses his turn of pace brilliantly! Moreno is left desperately recovering and manages to put just enough pressure on Okazaki to see his opponent stab the ball wide of the post.
Japan have definitely had the better of these opening stages, each of their quick breaks look dangerous and they've often got a man over on Mexico. As I said before, this is similar to their start against Italy, so they'll hope to keep their concentration in this game.
GUARDADO! The Valencia man tried an ambitious half volley from about 25 yards out, but balloons his effort over the bar. I think he's got the right idea about having a strike at goal though, Kawashima isn't the most convincing of goalkeepers in this tournament.
Oh dear! Jimenez won't want to see a replay of that attempt again! The striker controlled a long throw, but put the ball out of play for a throw in with his attempted strike.
CLOSE! A lofted ball into the Mexican box is claimed well by Ochoa, despite Maeda stretching to try and get an important touch on the ball. Japan have had the chances so far!
Mexico are struggling to create anything in the final third, Japan are sitting quite deep when they're not in possession and if Hernandez drops deep with the ball, he's got nobody to aim for in the box.
Kagawa is already causing a host of problems for his markers, he seemed to be at the centre of everything Japan construct. Hernandez is yet to really have a meaningful touch of the ball, but he only needs the odd chance to grab a goal for his country.
DISALLOWED! Japan have the ball in the back of the net, after the ball deflects off Okazaki and past Ochoa! The crowd are unhappy, but it looked to be just about the right decision.
The referee hasn't made any friends already, as the official is booed by Japan's Brazilian fans, as Maeda was penalised for easing Torrado out of the way. Kagawa has already been heavily involved and looks bright.
Japan may have had the initial chance of the game, but they've allowed a few mistakes to creep into their game already. Their quick transitions from defence to attack are perhaps a little too quick for their less technically gifted players.
KAGAWA! After the ball fell kindly to the Man United man, Ochoa does just enough to turn the midfielder's effort behind for a corner kick! I'm not sure how Kagawa didn't score then, he just stabbed at it rather than passing it home.
Mexico have perhaps started the brighter of the two sides, but Japan look dangerous on the break! Okazaki looks very energetic thus far.
A sloppy start to proceedings, with Japan conceding a couple of early fouls and losing possession in the centre of the park. Dos Santos was found offside only a moment ago, after Guardado looked to play his compatriot in behind.
And we are underway! Mexico are in white, while Japan are in navy blue!
Both sets of players emerge from the tunnel to a slowly filling Belo Horizonte crowd, as the formal entrance to the stadium gets underway. There are several changes for both sides this evening, so it should be interesting to see how the game pans out.
Mexico substitutes: Rodriguez, Salcido, Molina, Barrera, Reyna, de Nigris, Aquino, Corona, Meza, Herrera, Flores, Talavera.
Japan substitutes: Inoha, G. Sakai, Uchida, Kiyotake, Havenaar, Nishikawa, Nakamura, Inui, Takahashi, Yoshida, Gonda.
Mexico starting line-up: Ochoa, Torres Nilo, Moreno, Mier, Reyes, Guardado, Torrado, Zavala, dos Santos, Hernandez, Jimenez.
Japan starting line-up: Kawashima; Kurihara, Konno, Nagatomo, Sakai, Endo, Hosogai, Okazaki, Honda, Maeda, Kagawa.
TEAM NEWS: There are a few changes from the side which narrowly lost to Italy for Japan, with the same for the Mexico side which lost comprehensively to Brazil. Jimenez starts up top for El Tri.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you updated with proceedings during tonight's game. Be sure to tweet me your pre-game predictions: @simonhfootball. Neither side will want to finish bottom of their Confederations Cup group and therefore we can perhaps expect some attacking football from both sides tonight.
Hello and welcome to Goal's LIVE coverage of 2013 Confederations Cup clash between Japan and Mexico, where both teams will be playing for pride rather than a qualifying spot. Japan and Mexico have both shown themselves to be capable of grabbing a goal or two, so we should be in for an exciting spectacle!
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