Having been out of town for the last week, the build up to this one really snuck up on me, but the magnitude of what was going down at Cowboys Stadium this afternoon was quickly made apparent the second you saw the throng of green outside the "Death Star." As I said on Twitter, any time the seleção comes to your town it's an enormous deal and while I've never been to a World Cup, the atmosphere outside Cowboys Stadium surely felt like one you would see outside the major landmark stadiums of the world before a major World Cup match.
Inside the stadium 84,156 spectators, the largest crowd to ever see a soccer match in the state of Texas, were treated to a star-studded match between a full-strength Mexico side in their final game before World Cup Qualifying taking on a Brazilian side made up of mostly Olympic-eligible players including $58m Hulk as well as Neymar, the hottest name in soccer. If their previous games were any indication, the Brazilian side that easily dispatched the Americans in Washington DC would be favored over a Mexico side that needed a last-gasp winner from Chicharito to defeat Bosnia in Chicago. That did not prove to be the case.
A Mexico side buoyed by the largest and most partisan crowd they'll play in front of outside Estadio Azteca played almost a perfect 90 minute game holding the Brazilians scoreless while grabbing goals from Gio Dos Santos and Chicharito Hernandez to send the crowd home happy with a 2-0 victory.
Thoughts on the match and overall spectacle after the jump plus video highlights
It doesn't get much bigger than this I realize that stories like this aren't exactly to the target demographic and probably 75% of the people that read this care more about Ricardo Villar than any Brazilian on the field in Arlington, but you have to be in awe of the spectacle of what happened at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday. It's not inaccurate to say the center of the football universe was in our backyard for two hours. Chicharito, Neymar, Dos Santos, Guardado, nearly 85,000 people...It was a really special afternoon and the game lived up to the stage.
A right back steals the show With all the star power on the field, the player I was most impressed with was a right back from Monterrey. Severo Meza had a fantastic game shutting down Neymar all afternoon and then nearly getting sent off in a scuffle with the Brazilian late in the match. Meza barely put a foot wrong and was a huge part of the Mexico shutout.
Gameplan worked to perfection Chepo De La Torre deserves a ton of credit for this win. Mexico had a clear counterattacking gameplan from the beginning and implemented it perfectly. Both goals came from counterattacking sequences and while Brazil had the majority of the possession, they really had no real chances in the first half and missed their only one in the second.
Stark contrast As much as I hate to say it, El Tri is light years ahead of the United States in terms of competing for a World Cup. This Mexico squad has the talent and there's more coming from a side whose U20 team finished 3rd at the last World Cup and U17 side just won it. You don't overreact positively or negatively from friendlies, but today I saw a Mexico side that knew exactly what they were doing for 90 minutes against one of the world superpowers while the United States scuffed to a 0-0 draw against a team that isn't even in the top tier of CONCACAF.
Does it affect the USA's ability to qualify for a World Cup? Not really, but is the goal to qualify or to succeed at the World Cup? There can be no question right now which team is better set up to succeed.
Mexico vs Brasil 2-0 (HD) - Brazil vs Mexico (via lF00TBALL)