BRUSSELS (AFP) - Mexico recorded the most impressive result of their World Cup warm-up matches by beating defending champions Italy 2-1 in a friendly game here on Thursday.
Beaten 3-1 by England and 2-1 by the Netherlands in their previous two outings against top-level opposition last week, the Central Americans bounced back to give Marcello Lippi's lacklustre side a lesson in pace and application.
Mexico face hosts South Africa in the World Cup's opening match on June 11 and will also tackle Uruguay and 2006 finalists France in Group A.
On this evidence, they should not be taken lightly.
"Against a very determined Mexico, we were constantly second to the ball," rued Lippi. "For a first warm-up match, there was definitely no worse opponent for us than Mexico. Their players were very good physically.
"Our physical condition wasn't as good as that of our opponent. But for the World Cup, we'll be ready."
Javier Aguirre's side, ranked 17th in the world to Italy's fifth, took a 16th-minute lead when Arsenal forward Carlos Vela took advantage of slack marking to finish Giovani dos Santos's cute pass with a crisp half-volley.
Italy began the game with a centre-back pairing of skipper Fabio Cannavaro and Bari's Leonardo Bonucci but neither player was anywhere to be seen as Vela fired home.
The Azzurri defence was equally static when Alberto Medina doubled Mexico's lead in the 83rd minute.
Comfortable in possession and resourceful in midfield, Mexico dominated their opponents and were not troubled until Bonucci lashed in an 87th-minute equaliser following a corner.
Italy, possibly tired following a long coach journey from their Sestrieres training base, lacked ideas in possession and were uncharacteristically hesitant in defence.
And had Mexico been a little sharper in front of goal, their margin of victory would have been even more handsome.
Lippi still appears unsure about how to configure his attack, with Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale - last season's top scorer in Serie A - largely anonymous in the playmaking role during the first half.
Italy face Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand in the group phase.
|L. Bonucci||16' 89'|
|D. De Rossi|
|A. Di Natale|
|Coach: M. Lippi|
for A. Di Natale 46'
for G. Zambrotta 63'
for A. Gilardino 64'
for D. De Rossi 75'
for A. Pirlo 82'
for F. Cannavaro 89'
|Mourinho: Victory at Stoke means more than three points|
|Postecoglou picks attacking Australia squad|
|Allegri disappointed by wasteful Juve|
|Benitez revels in Napoli´s Supercoppa Italiana win|
|Stoke City 0 Chelsea 2: Fabregas fires visitors to festive number one spot|
|Juventus 2 Napoli 2 (aet, 5-6 on pens): Rafael´s shootout heroics seal victory|
|Ki has mixed feelings over Asian Cup|
|Lafita set for six-month lay-off with ligament injury|
|Dyche dismisses Ings exit speculation|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Balikesirspor record rare win, Carlos bows out at Sivasspor|
|Freibug agree deals for Daehli and Petersen|
|Kampl set to join Dortmund|
|Al Shabab 1 Al Ain 1: Ahmad rescues late point for visitors|
|Blackpool chairman Oyston apologises for supporter spat|
|Flamini expects Arsenal to kick on|
|Brighton accept Hyypia resignation|
|FA charge Leeds defender Bellusci for alleged racist abuse|
|Uncapped Lee named in South Korea squad|
|Gutierrez makes Newcastle comeback|
|Ji to rejoin Augsburg from Dortmund|
|Holders ES Setif learn Champions League fate|
|Kraft extends Hertha deal|
|FIFA reform process ongoing - Blatter|
|Walsh: Leicester should stick with Pearson|
|Hodgson optimistic for England´s future|
|Milan chief Galliani targets Champions League|
|Hull recall Ince and Figueroa|
|Stranzl extends Gladbach stay|
|Redknapp not ruling out Morrison return|
|Barnes hopeful of keeping his place|
|Lambert hails ´outstanding´ Okore|
|Kramer pens Leverkusen extension|
|Lacazette will not rest on laurels|
|Hughes: Chelsea can win quadruple|
|Liverpool are turning the corner - Lallana|
|Ramos: No rush on contract talks|
|Johnson: Derby winner one of my finest hours|
|Juan credits Mancini for Inter revival|
|Allardyce eyeing London derby success|
|Juanfran targets new-year push|
|Long slams Southampton critics|
|Guidetti out, Griffiths in hints Deila|
|Spurs forward Kane targets 20 goals|
|Lyon fitness key to Bordeaux thrashing - Fournier|
|Santa Fe 1 Medellin 1 (agg 3-2): Hosts win Clausura title|
|Emelec 3 Barcelona 0 (4-1 agg): Bolanos brace seals title defence|
|Pioli: Lazio did not switch off|
|No Park in South Korea´s Asian Cup squad|
|Gignac: Marseille lead ´a huge boost´|
|Simeone applauds Griezmann´s hat-trick|
|Redknapp vows to keep QPR sharpshooter Austin|
|Santiago Wanderers 1 Palestino 6 (agg 2-9): 36-year drought ends for visitors|
|Juan Aurich 2 Sporting Cristal 3 (aet, agg 4-5): Chavez hands visitors Peruvian title|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Bolivar win title|
|Mancini plays down Lennon transfer rumours|
|Ligue 1 Review: Marseille end 2014 top of the table, Lyon leapfrog PSG|
|Kovacic has mixed emotions after Inter draw|
|Serie A Review: Lazio go third despite Inter rally, Sampdoria held|
|La Liga Review: Griezmann the man for Atleti, Villarreal gain fifth straight win|
|Primeira Liga Review: Benfica win six straight|
|Athletic Bilbao 1 Atletico Madrid 4: Griezmann hat-trick seals comeback win|
|Inter 2 Lazio 2: Hosts rally to claim draw|
|McCoist makes Rangers exit|
|Sturridge on course for January return - Rodgers|
|Liverpool getting back on track, says Rodgers|
|Wenger bemoans failure to defend set-pieces|
|Bundesliga Review: Hoffenheim enjoy big win, Freiburg falter late on|
|Zorc: Dortmund to stick with Klopp|
|Liverpool 2 Arsenal 2: Bandaged Skrtel rescues a draw|
|I have no problem with Payet, insists Bielsa|
|Eredivisie Review: Ajax leave it late, Vitesse finally win|
|Pardew rues over-zealous Newcastle approach|
|Benitez hopeful ahead of Supercoppa|
|I nearly took Johnson off - Poyet|
|Johnson revels in derby late show|
|Juventus must maintain focus, warns Allegri|
|Newcastle United 0 Sunderland 1: Johnson settles derby|
|Carlos leaves Sivasspor post|
|Dundee United 2 Celtic 1: Ciftci inspires surprise win|
|Mourinho against use of independent panels|
|Hartlepool not interested in signing Evans|
|Reed delighted with first Southampton start|
|Bremen agree Oztunali loan|
|Irvine backs Ideye to end goal drought|
|Carrick backs Falcao to kick on|
|Dortmund will come back stronger, vows Klopp|
|Bojan senior slams Barcelona|
|Eredvisie title not won yet - Depay|
|Sterling eager to catch Arsenal cold|
|Monk: Ki will be sorely missed|
|Bruce looking to recall Hull duo from loan spells|
|Allardyce: Pearson deserves time|
|Sydney 0 Wellington Phoenix 2: Burns at the double|
|Real Madrid 2 San Lorenzo 0: Spanish giants complete triumphant 2014|
|McCoist: Departures sucking life out of Rangers|
|Hargreaves urges Sterling to stay put|
|Herediano 1 Deportivo Saprissa 1 (agg 3-5): Draw hands visitors consecutive titles|
|Tribulietx basks in Auckland City´s heroics|
|San Lorenzo´s Bauza applauds Ancelotti|
|Wenger: Sanchez a Footballer of the Year candidate|
|Chelsea like United´s treble-winning team - Hargreaves|
|Ancelotti: Copa del Rey victory inspired Real´s stunning run|
|La Liga Review: Catalan clubs triumph|