Mexico reach semis after 1-0 win over Brazil
By Mike Collett
HANOVER, Germany, June 19 (Reuters) - Jared Borgetti turned from villain to hero as his goal gave Mexico a stunning 1-0 win over world champions Brazil to seal a place in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup on Sunday.
Borgetti, who failed to score in the first half despite taking a penalty three times, emerged as Mexico's match-winner by glancing home a 59th-minute header when he escaped his marker Kaka and left goalkeeper Dida stranded.
Mexico, who defended superbly and in goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez had the man of the match, are now unbeaten in 19 matches since Brazil beat them 4-0 in the Copa America last July.
Mexico, who face Greece in their last group match in Frankfurt on Wednesday, join hosts Germany and Argentina in the semi-finals, after they qualified from Group A on Saturday.
Brazil will meet Japan in Cologne, also on Wednesday, to decide who takes the remaining place in the last four.
"I've been the coach of the Mexican team for three years and it is very satisfying to see we are growing and able to beat the very big teams," said Argentine Ricardo La Volpe.
"We're getting better yet we play with the same style. We play the same way whether its against a small or big country."
Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who according to some records was in charge of his 100th international, said:
"They made it a very difficult match for us. They are in except physical condition and they have very good coordination on the ball as well. Very good ball skills.
"At the same time we had several opportunities that could have been converted and changed the game but we simply didn't convert them."
A superb match full of attacking and creative soccer played on a balmy night in northern Germany ended with Mexico top of Group B with six points followed by Brazil and Japan on three and Greece, who are bottom with none.
Both teams had plenty of chances on Sunday with a total of 27 shots or headers on goal but while Mexico found the net the Brazilians squandered all of their 19 goal attempts.
They were unfortunate to be denied an equaliser after 68 minutes, though, when Adriano was ruled just offside after powering in a header from a Kaka cross.
Ronaldinho, who tried to inspire his team without much reward, summed up their night afterwards.
"We created lots of chances but they took advantage of a set piece and scored. We have to train hard to avoid making the same mistakes again."
All that was missing from a first half full of attacking football and chances for both teams was a goal, although one should have been scored after 30 minutes.
Mexico were awarded a penalty by Italian referee Roberto Rosetti after Roque Junior clumsily bundled Borgetti over as they chased down a loose ball.
Borgetti slammed the penalty past goalkeeper Dida but Rosetti ruled that Mexico's Francisco Fonseca had encroached on the kick and ordered a re-take.
As he did before the first kick, Borgetti looked to the skies for inspiration but then slammed his spot kick against the bar. Rosetti again signalled a re-take because Dida had moved off his line.
So for the third time Borgetti glanced upwards for help but Dida was the one whose prayers were answered as he saved the third penalty by diving high to his right and punching the ball out for a corner.
At the other end Adriano had two clear-cut chances and was denied only by Sanchez's fingertips after 39 minutes when racing through on goal, the keeper turning his low shot just round the post.
The striker should have done better with another effort when he sent the ball high and wide with time and space on his side.
Robinho, Ronaldinho and Adriano all wasted chances with some wayward shooting or were thwarted by excellent defending.
Aaron Galindo, Ricardo Osorio and Carlos Salcido were outstanding at the back for Mexico who finished by far the stronger team, brimming with confidence and elated at a job well done.