'Hurt' Mexico coach hits out at Sweden 'long ball' tactics
Juan Carlos Osorio (Getty Images)
Yekaterinburg - Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said he was "very hurt" and hit out at Sweden's style of football as his side limped into the World Cup last 16 on Wednesday despite a 3-0 defeat.
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Sweden, who at half-time were heading home from Russia, scored three times in the second half to top Group F with a deserved win.
Mexico were left hoping that Germany did not beat South Korea in the other final group game, as the tension that had bubbled throughout ratcheted up a notch.
As it was, the Germans were stunned 2-0 late on, with Mexico fans packed into Yekaterinburg Arena raucously celebrating the South Korean goals.
Beer rained down when news filtered through that Germany, incredibly, were exiting the tournament, and Mexico progressed behind Sweden despite losing.
Sweden and Mexico, who were ragged throughout, will next play either Brazil, Switzerland or Serbia from Group E.
But Osorio was far from happy and his team will need to play a lot better if they are to go beyond the last 16 for the first time since 1986.
"First of all, I have to say that we qualified because we beat Germany and Korea. However, I am very hurt," said the 56-year-old Colombian.
"We allowed them to score three goals, which is too many.... I was not happy how we defended, it was a learning experience for me."
He called qualification "bittersweet" and made clear his disdain for what he perceived to be Sweden's long-ball approach.
"I deeply regret that way of playing, I don't agree with it -- always from the goalkeeper to the attacker, not playing it out of the back.
"It is quite amazing to realise that you can play in that manner."
That will be of no concern to Sweden and their coach Janne Andersson as second-half goals from defenders Ludwig Augustinsson and Andreas Granqvist, from the penalty spot, plus a comical own goal were reward for a physical display.
Sweden only made it to Russia by beating Italy in the play-offs, but were worthy winners at Yekaterinburg Arena, condemning Mexico's large following to a nervy ending as they became reliant on South Korea in Kazan.
Some of the Mexican fans applauded Sweden afterwards, admission that Andersson's men had taught their side a lesson, albeit one that Osorio has little time for.
Andersson had been upset by Germany's celebrations in a last-gasp 2-1 win for the holders last weekend, but said he took no satisfaction from seeing them crash out.
"Never in a million years," said Andersson. "You play the game and then wish everyone the best for the next one. I am not like that (gloating), it is not like that in sport."
For Augustinsson, 24, who plays in Germany for Werder Bremen, it was his first goal for his country and "a dream come true".
It could have been worse for Mexico, who started badly and never recovered, and Sweden were denied what looked a strong call for a penalty on 30 minutes.
Referee Nestor Pitana of Argentina took a look at a video replay when the ball hit Mexico striker Javier Hernandez on the arm in the box.
After lingering at the pitch-side monitor, then going back for a second glance, Pitana ruled it no penalty -- the Mexicans celebrated as if they had scored a goal.
At the interval, with the game also goalless in Kazan, Mexico and Germany were going through.
Sweden needed a goal and five minutes after half-time they got it, Augustinsson popping up from left-back to volley in.
There was more drama on the hour, as Hector Moreno brought down Marcus Berg in the box and skipper Granqvist held his nerve in front of the massed ranks of Mexicans to bury his penalty.
Mexico defender Edson Alvarez compounded a miserable evening with a 74th-minute own goal when he miskicked past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
That left Mexico in a perilous position, as a late German winner would have sent them crashing out, but two injury-time South Korean goals ensured Osorio's men edged through as runners-up.