Hernandez, Mexico happy to be dreamers during World Cup | PostIndependent.com

Hernandez, Mexico happy to be dreamers during World Cup

Kyle Hightower
Associated Press
Mexico's Javier Hernandez, right, and Miguel Layun celebrate at the end of the group F match between Mexico and South Korea at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia on Saturday, June 23.
Martin Meissner | AP | AP

YEKATERINIBURG, Russia — With back-to-back victories to open the World Cup, including one over defending champion Germany, Mexico’s national team has already been anointed by some back home as the best in the country’s history.

If Mexico beats the Sweden on Wednesday it would win its group with a perfect record, something it has never achieved in its long World Cup history.

It’s exactly the kind of big dreams that 30-year-old forward Javier Hernandez was criticized for prior to the tournament when he said winning this year’s World Cup was a possibility.

On Tuesday in advance of El Tri’s final Group F match against Sweden, he doubled down.

“The best thing to do with dreams is to share them with people who are dreamers,” he said. “We are brave enough not only to dream, but to work on those dreams so that we can make them true.”

Hernandez notched his 50th international goal in Mexico’s 2-1 win over South Korea on Saturday. With one more, he can become Mexico’s all-time leading scorer in World Cup play with five, breaking a tie with Luis Hernandez.

Javier said no one inside Mexico’s locker room is disappointed about not having already earned its place in what would be its seventh consecutive spot in the round of 16.

That’s mostly because nothing is settled yet in Group F. If Sweden beats Mexico on Wednesday and Germany beats South Korea, three teams would be tied atop Group F with six points, sending it to tiebreakers that start with goal difference.

Having something to play for in this final group stage game fits right into this team’s mentality, Hernandez said.

“This is the group of death,” Hernandez said. “People can say whatever they want there, but we have a magnificent opportunity to break that ceiling and to demonstrate that we can do this after working hard. And let’s let football speak for itself.”

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio is also embracing the expectations that have been placed on his shoulders.

“When we arrived here in Russia, the only person who had a big question mark over his head was me, not the national squad.” the 56-year-old said of leading his first Mexican World Cup squad. “For many who are aware of Mexico’s history they say this is perhaps the best generation of Mexican footballers.

“I’m not surprised with what we have achieved so far with this squad. … We have to build and continue to build a team that is capable of competing, both in bravery in play as well as to fight for every single ball.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.