Mexico’s World Cup preparations hit another bump in the road on Tuesday night, as they fell 1-0 to Bosnia and Herzegovina in a tepid performance at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Midfielder Izet Hajrovic netted the lone goal of the game in the 41st minute after a strong first half from Bosnia. The move saw Senad Lulic track the ball down in Mexico’s area and slip it through to Sejad Salihovic, who cut back from the endline to set Hajrovic up for the one-time finish.
Backed by a partisan crowd, Mexico were largely punchless in attack as Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez found himself again frustrated in front of goal despite some good looks. The best of those came after his picture-perfect touch on Miguel Layun’s long ball set him free on goal, only for his effort glance off the post.
Having lost midfielder Luis Montes to injury in their previous outing against Ecuador and missing veteran defender Rafael Marquez, also banged up in that game, Mexico spent much of the match in a 4-4-2 formation after starting in their normal 5-3-2. But despite outpossessing the Bosnians throughout the match, they generated little in the final third after Hernandez's miss until the later stages of the game.
Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic only had to make two saves on the night, both in the final minutes of the game, but both of excellent caliber. In the 86th minute he leapt over to push away a header bound for the far corner from Francisco 'Maza' Rodriguez, and came up trumps again in stoppage time when he acrobatically denied a Miguel Ponce blast from outside the area.
The Mexican team, which suffered its first loss in eight games since Miguel Herrera took over as head coach in mid-October 2013, now has just one more tune-up match before traveling to Brazil – against Portugal on June 6 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. They open their Group A campaign against Cameroon on June 13 and will also face hosts Brazil and Croatia.
For Bosnia, the win served as a positive send-off for their trip to Brazil, where they open play on June 15 in Group F against Argentina.