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Mexico in dominant win over South Korea


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Updated  24/06/18  
BBC Sports:
Javier Hernandez scored his 50th international goal to help Mexico take a big step towards the last 16 of the World Cup with an impressive win over South Korea, despite Son Heung-min's stunning late strike.
Having upset defending champions Germany in their opening game in Group F, Mexico proved again they will be a test for any side should they reach the knockout stages.
They took the lead in Rostov-on-Don through Carlos Vela's penalty - the 14th of the tournament already - on 26 minutes after Jang Hyun-soo's handball.
Although they dominated possession against lacklustre opponents, Mexico also displayed their thrilling counter-attacking game with their second goal, when West Ham striker Hernandez added a neat finish to Hirving Lozano's surging run.
As South Korea's sole threat, it was fitting that Tottenham striker Son gave his side fleeting hope in added time with a sublime, curling strike from 25 yards.
Toni Kroos' last-minute winner for Germany against Sweden later on Saturday means Mexico need a point against Sweden in their final group match to guarantee progress.
It also prevented South Korea being eliminated, although they need to beat Germany and for Mexico to beat Sweden to stand a chance of qualification.
While not quite guaranteed of progress, this would be the seventh straight World Cup in which Mexico have reached the last 16, a record that stretches back to 1994.
However, they have not gone further during that time, with their only two quarter-final appearances coming in the World Cups they hosted in 1970 and 1986.
This quick side, gifted on the counter but also comfortable in possession - albeit under minimal pressure here - have the chance to end that streak.
The second goal epitomised the threat of Vela, Hernandez and Lozano in attack. When the latter drove into space, Vela drew away to the right as the ball went left to Hernandez, who checked back and clipped low past South Korea keeper Cho Hyun-woo.
The defence remains a worry and the flaw that could end their run in the tournament. Centre-backs Hector Moreno and Carlos Salcedo made a series of tremendous blocks, but substitute Rafael Marquez's woeful attempted backpass nearly gifted Son a goal on 76 minutes.
Mexico could face Serbia, Switzerland or Brazil in the last 16, with the prospect of a tie against Belgium or England in the quarter-finals.
Better teams may be wise to Mexico's counter-attacking style, but no side will relish facing them on current form.


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