Mexico won their first warmup friendly for the 2014 World Cup 3-0 over Israel on Wednesday night, but the result is one of the smallest stories to come out of the match. The first half was all about celebration as Cuauhtémoc Blanco started the match, with the fans paying tribute to his career, but his moment was overshadowed in the second half. Starting goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona took a nasty knee to the head, resulting in his substitution and transportation to the hospital.
Miguel Herrera started an odd experimental lineup, which made sense if he planned on giving Blanco a long run-out. None of the Club Leon players who won the Mexican championship got starts and Hector Herrera was out with a stomach bug, so El Tri played with no true central midfielders. Andres Guardado, who has been a left winger or wingback for most of his career, played as a holding midfielder.
With a weird team in place and Mexico trying to play through Blanco, they were unsurprisingly static in the first half. Blanco looked like the team's best player, but that probably had a lot to do with the team being centered around him. The crowd erupted when he was taken off in the 38th minute, and from there the real preparation for the World Cup began.
Miguel Layun scored the first of his two goals just two minutes before halftime off a run in from the left wing. He was given too much space as he set himself up on his right foot, then took a rip at goal from 20 yards. Israel goalkeeper Ariel Harush got a hand on the ball, but couldn't keep it out of the back of the net.
Miguel Ponce replaced Isaac Brizuela in the 59th minute, moving Layun into an unusual central midfield spot, but it paid off. He scored his second just four minutes after that, in rather unconventional fashion. Harush again got a hand to his shot, this time sending it way up in the air, but not far enough to go over the crossbar. It took a bounce right at the goal line, then bounced in.
Corona's unfortunate injury happened five minutes later, when he came off his line to attempt a clearance. He wasn't on the same page with 'Maza' Francisco Rodriguez, who inadvertently struck him in the head with his knee. Corona went down and was immobilized, loaded on to a stretcher and taken to the hospital with a suspected neck injury.
While most people were more concerned with Corona's injury than the result from that point on, Mexico was able to add a third, with Marco Fabian striking from the edge of the penalty area off a run and cutback in the box from 'Chicharito' Javier Hernandez.
Mexico: Corona (Ochoa 73'), Reyes, Maza, Aguilar, Guardado, Fabian, Salcido, Brizuela (Ponce 59'), Layun (Pulido 72'), Blanco (Jimenez 39'), Peralta (Hernandez 46')
Goals: Layun (43', 62'), Fabian (85')
Israel: Harush, Shpungin, Ben Haim, Gershon, Kayal (Natcho 46'), Rafaelov (Vermouth 59'), Yeini (Buzagalo 83'), Zehavi (Benayoun 64'), Ben Harush, Damari, Sahar (Ben Haim 46')