Having seen Oribe Peralta struggle to carve out opportunities as the second half progressed, his substitution in the 73rd minute wasn’t a surprise, but neither was Javier Hernandez’s performance.
The 26-year-old proved to be troublesome for David Luiz and Thiago Silva but ahead of Mexico’s decisive game against Croatia on Monday night, Chicharito wouldn’t have done anything to convince Mexico boss Miguel Herrera that he deserves to start.
Hernandez’s instructions were as clear as they often are in such circumstances; exploit tired legs and make sure to be on the end of any enticing crosses. On this occasion, there was little to get his teeth into, save for drawing a booking from Silva having turned the Brazilian outside of the area with the goal in his sights, along with almost making contact with the rebound from Raul Jimenez’s strike.
What has become clear as Group A has progressed is that Herrera has found a system that is reaping dividends for the national team, and Hernandez is not a particularly vital part of it.
His pace, energy and uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time are all highly useful traits in games this tight but at present, Mexico need their forwards to contribute beyond applying a finishing touch for at least the opening hour of each game, and Peralta and Giovanni Dos Santos are presently working far too efficiently in tandem with each other up front for disruption to be worthwhile.