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Mexico defeats South Korea, close to 16
July 21 2018, 08:05 | Perry Erickson
Striker Javier Hernandez scored his 50th worldwide goal to help Mexico take a big step towards the last 16 of the World Cup with an impressive 2-1 win over South Korea.
Meanwhile, while the South Koreans are not mathematically out of it - at least until the game between Germany and Sweden later on Saturday - it will take a minor miracle if they are to have any chances of keeping their World Cup dream alive.
Hernandez's goal was nothing less than Mexico, which beat defending champions Germany 1-0 last time out, deserved following another accomplished performance, with South Korea having rallied following Carlos Vela's 26th-minute penalty.
Mexico's most famous soccer export, Javier "Chicharito" Hernández, added a second goal to El Tri's scoresheet in the second half to ensure victory after a breakaway play by the first match's goal scorer Hirving Lozano, who again impressed with his pace and skill. "We have humility but we beat Germany and South Korea and now we have to play against Sweden and stay cool and calm", goalscorer Hernandez said.
"In spite of those of us who are Mexicans knowing that it is not offensive and isn't homophobic as Federation Internationale de Football Association see it, if there is a rule or something that bans it, it's great that it has been respected in this game and hopefully it'll continue during the World Cup", Guardado said.
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With South Korea's defense in disarray, Jang clearly handled Andres Guardado's cross and referee Mazic did not hesitate in awarding the penalty, Vela stepping up and sending Cho Hyun-woo the wrong way.
"We have beaten two brilliant and complicated teams, Germany and South Korea", Hernandez said.
South Korean forward Son Heung-min scored a scintillating consolation goal in injury time but it was too little too late for the East Asian nation, which now can not qualify for the first knockout stage of the tournament. A volley from Vela skimmed the bar minutes later. - In the first half, Son Heung-min had six shots (including blocked attempts) - more than South Korea managed in its entire first match against Sweden.
Mexico can secure a place in the Round of 16 with a win over South Korea, which must avoid defeat in order to have any chance of reaching the knockout stage of the tournament.
South Korea will face Germany at the same time in Kazan. But history was not on Mexico's side because it had not won back-to-back matches at a World Cup since 2002.