Mexico sealed a
well-earned place in the Confederations Cup semi-finals after a 1-0 win
over Brazil in an incident-packed Group B encounter in front of a
Jared Borgetti's second half goal put Ricardo Lavolpe's side on six
points and with only one group game left the CONCACAF champions are
assured a place in the last four against either Germany or Argentina.
Brazil must now beat Japan in Cologne on Wednesday to guarantee their
semi-final spot and prevent an embarrassing first round exit for the
second successive Confed Cup.
"Our top priority is to beat Japan and make it into the next round,"
said Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira who singled out Mexico's
defence as the key to the defeat.
"It doesn't matter how much ability you have - how many Ronaldinhos and
Robinhos are in your team, if your opponents can defend like that and
penetrate it's going to be tough to get a result.
"Mexico were really strong on this body to body, hand to hand marking.
"It's not a disaster."
This was Mexico's 20th game unbeaten - the last time they tasted defeat
was ironically against Brazil in the Copa America last year.
For Ricardo Lavolpe it showed his team were coming of age 12 months
before the World Cup.
"I've been coach now for three years and it's satisfying to see how
we're growing and able to beat the good teams," said the Argentina-born
"The physical effort from my players was immense and it all worked out."
Brazil, beaten by Mexico in the 1999 Confed Cup final, dominated early
but the Mexican defence held strong before the match descended into a
It all started on the half hour mark when Mexico, who next play
under-performing Greece, were awarded a penalty after Borgetti was
brought down by Brazil captain Roque Junior in the box.
Looking to the heavens Borgetti stepped up to place the spot kick in the
back of Dida's net, but to his disgust Italian referee Roberto Rosetti
made him take it again having spotted an overly eager Jose Fonseca
illegally enter the penalty area.
Borgetti's second attempt hit the cross bar but the 31-year-old Pachuca
striker was handed a third attempt, this time after Brazil's Emerson
went beyond the pale.
Another look skywards and Borgetti struck high and to the right only for
Dida to save - one out of three in this case just wasn't good enough.
A sigh of relief rang out into the Hannover night from the drum-banging
Samba supporters which must have reached the airship keeping watch on
proceedings high over the stadium.
The capacity crowd which included German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
were treated to one further moment of high drama in first-half injury
time when after a goalmouth scramble Adriano was handed a gilt-edged
chance to put Brazil ahead at close range only for his shot to head high
It was seemingly a night for illegal incursions for after the penalty
pandemonium the second half was only three minutes old when five
security guards were needed to catch a supporter on the pitch.
Then on 59 minutes Borgetti was looking skyward again, this time in
delight after heading in off a corner from the right to give Mexico the
lead and ultimately the three points.
Adriano had the ball in the back of the tireless Oswaldo Sanchez' net in
the 68th minute but his joy was shortlived after the Inter Milan
attacker's effort was disallowed for a foul.
With Parreira prowling the touchline on his 100th match as the South
American giants' coach Brazil peppered the Mexican goal but this just
wasn't their night.
For Santos, whose heroics in snuffing out Brazil's attacks earned him
the man of the match award, the result proved Mexico were now a force to
be reckoned with on the world stage.
"This shows that our football is very strong. Brazil have all these
players based in Europe but this performance shows we could alspo be
playing there too."