Oribe Peralta could have been forgiven a bit of strutting, perhaps, after delivering the match-winning goal in an unexpected World Cup start.
Mexico's forward took a humble, team-first approach, though, after his 61st-minute putback of Giovani dos Santos' saved shot lifted El Tri to a 1-0 victory over Cameroon on Friday in their Group A opener in Natal, Brazil.
"We're still far away from the objective," Peralta told Goal.com after the match. "We're happy for the big step we took today, but we still have two games ahead of us to advance. God will give you what you deserve in the right moment."
Peralta's first right moment came on Thursday, when manager Miguel Herrera named him the starter ahead of underperforming Javier “Chicharito” Hernández. The second came when dos Santos, who had two apparent goals wiped out by inexplicable offside calls in the first half, struck a low shot that Cameroonian keeper Charles Itandje stopped handily but could not control.
Peralta, trailing the play, swooped down on the ball and buried his left-footed shot inside the left post to give El Tri all three points going into next Tuesday's match against favored Brazil.
"The game was complicated but we gave our maximum,” he said. “It's a reward for the work of a lot of people over a long time. This win is for the fans that support us and believe in us. We played a really good game. We could have scored more goals, but we know we need to keep working and not look back."