Mexico player ratings as Carlos Vela stars in 2-1 win over South Korea to top Group F

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Mexico made it two wins in two to top Group F after a 2-1 win over South Korea at the World Cup.

Carlos Vela scored the opener at the Rostov Arena from the spot in the 26th minute before playing in Javier Hernandez for Mexico’s second in the 66th minute.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min pulled on back for the Koreans late on with a stunning strike from range.

Here, we look at how the Mexican players performed.

STARTING XI (4-2-3-1)

Guillermo Ochoa – Made a decent save from a corner. Came off his line well to thwart Son who had run in behind. Had a couple of other routine saves to make. Helpless against Son’s strike. 7

Edson Alvarez – Had a tough time dealing with Korea’s wing wizard Hwang Hee-chan but coped well and grew into the role as the game went on. Had more touches than anyone else. 6

Carlos Salcedo – Kept close tabs on Son and made a vital block to deny the Spurs man. Was on hand to make another block in the second half. Was good on the ball and made the most passes as well as clearances. 7

Hector Moreno – Stood firm in central defence alongside Salcedo and went about his business with minimum fuss. Was kept busy by Son’s runs in behind and blocked the Korean’s shot on one occasion. 6

Jesus Gallardo – Had a decent performance at left-back. Perhaps should’ve done better when Jae-Sung cut inside and laid the ball off for Son to score a beauty. 5

Hector Herrera – One rash challenge aside, he was excellent with his tackling in midfield and helped Mexico dominate that area of the pitch. Was accurate with all five of his long passes. 6

Andres Guardado – Buzzed about in midfield and it was his cross that won the penalty for hand ball. Had a couple of good efforts at goal and led by example on his 150th cap. 7

Miguel Layun – Had an effort tipped over brilliantly by the Korea keeper. Was good with his delivery from the right and created a couple of fine chances. 6

Carlos Vela – Calmly tucked away the penalty to open the scoring. Set up Layun for a great chance with a good run and square pass. Provided the assist for the second goal. Was the chief creator as well and was impressive with his dribbling. 8

Hirving Lozano – Always a threat going forward, weaving his way past defenders, but was impressive defensively as well. Got back quickly and threw himself in front of a shot from Lee Yong. Was fouled repeatedly and had a few attempts at goal. 7

Javier Hernandez – Was largely kept quiet and was incredibly selfish when he refused to play in Layun who was breaking clear on the right. Showed good composure to cut in and score the second. 6

Carlos Vela scored Mexico's opener.

Carlos Vela scored Mexico’s opener.

SUBS

Rafael Marquez – Came on for Guardado in the 68th minute. A horrendous pass back to the keeper nearly led to a goal for Korea. Otherwise, helped see the game out. 5

Jesus Manuel Corona – Was brought on for Lozano in the 71st minute who picked up a knock. Didn’t really impact the game and was dispossessed a couple of times. 5

Giovani dos Santos – Replaced Vela in the closing stages and didn’t have time to leave an impression. N/A

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Mexico sink South Korea 2-1 to put themselves in pole position for World Cup's last 16

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Mexico put themselves on the brink of the World Cup’s last 16 following a fiery 2-1 triumph against South Korea.

El Tri beat reigning champions Germany in their opener and they were on their way to the knockouts early on when Carlos Vela put them ahead from the penalty spot after an inexcusable handball from Korea centre-back Jang Hyun-soo.

In an open and expansive game, both sides poured forward, Mexico in the hope of grabbing another goal that would aid their qualification to the knockouts, Korea in desperate search of a victory that would keep them in the tournament.

But it was the Central Americans who sealed the three points in the second half, Javier Hernandez netting a milestone 50th goal for his nation in his 105th cap.

Korea talisman Son Heung-min scored a stunning curling effort in stoppage time, but it proved in vain for the Taegeuk Warriors.

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Dramatic qualification and experienced squad - profiling Panama ahead of World Cup encounter with England

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Panama face England in their second game at the World Cup.

England continue their quest to reach the World Cup knockout phase against Panama on Sunday.

Ahead of the Group G encounter in Nizhny Novgorod, Press Association Sport’s Simon Peach takes a closer look at the Central American minnows.

How did they get to Russia?

Sunday is Panama’s second match of their first World Cup. In 2013, their hopes of reaching the finals were cruelly denied as the United States came back in stoppage time in inflict a remarkable late defeat.

This time, it is the Americans watching the finals from afar. Their loss to already eliminated Trinidad and Tobago allowed Panama to book their place via an 88th-minute winner against rivals Costa Rica.

Panama qualified in dramatic fashion.

Panama qualified in dramatic fashion.

Who is the coach?

Hernan Dario Gomez led Panama to their first World Cup – his third trip to the finals. After spending his playing career in his homeland, the Colombian went onto become head coach of former cub Atletico Nacional and then the national team.

Gomez led Colombia to two Copa Americas and the 1998 World Cup , before leading Ecuador to their first finals in 2002. Spells in club management and at the helm of Guatemala and Colombia once again followed before heading to Panama in 2014.

Hernan Gomez is at his third World Cup.

Hernan Gomez is at his third World Cup.

What can we expect from them?

“If we lose then fine, but let us not get thrashed,” Gomez said in the build-up to the tournament. Panama are less technically able than Tunisia and far less mobile, with many of their players 30 or over.

That experience might make life difficult for England, so too their physicality in sweltering Nizhny Novgorod.

Yet the pace at Gareth Southgate’s disposal could well give them a fright.

Panama's experience may come to the fore against England.

Panama’s experience may come to the fore against England.

What is their recent form?

Not good. Panama lost 1-0 to Denmark in March, while Switzerland dished out a 6-0 shellacking days later.

Last month they held Northern Ireland to a goalless draw, then lost 1-0 to Norway and 3-0 to Belgium in their Group G opener. Panama held firm in the first half against Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils, only for Dries Mertens’ volley to be complemented by a Romelu Lukaku brace. They sit 55th in the FIFA world rankings.

Panama fought gamely in their 3-0 loss to Belgium.

Panama fought gamely in their 3-0 loss to Belgium.

Who is the player to watch?

Panama do not have star names and are a built on collective spirit and skill. If anyone has the potential to be key man it is dreadlocked captain Roman Torres. The defender, nicknamed ‘Mazinger’ after a manga robot because of his bulky frame, is the symbol of the Panamanian team.

The Seattle Sounders player netted the goal that sent the country to Russia and manager Gomez confirmed in the pre-match press conference that Torres will feature in an unchanged starting line-up.

Roman Torres is the closest Panama have to a star player.

Roman Torres is the closest Panama have to a star player.

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