Javier Hernandez scored twice against Japan as Mexico clinched a third-place finish in Group A of the FIFA Confederations Cup on Saturday.
Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japan team had the better of the first half but failed to capitalise on their superiority and were made to pay in the second half by Hernandez.
The Manchester United striker headed Mexico ahead early on in the second period and nodded in another with 24 minutes remaining.
Shinji Okazaki gave Japan hope of a late comeback when he converted from close range after 86 minutes before Hernandez was handed a hat-trick opportunity when Mexico were awarded a late penalty.
However, Hernandez saw his spot-kick saved by Eiji Kawashima and his rebound effort crashed against the crossbar and away to safety.
Both managers made changes to their teams as four players came in for Mexico and three for the Asian side, with experienced duo Carlos Salcido and Makoto Hasebe being the most notable absentees their respective nations.
Mexico began with intent as Giovani dos Santos looked prominent on the left. But it was Japan who should have taken the lead inside the first minutes as a fast, free-flowing move through the centre finished with Yasuhito Endo threading a disguised pass into the middle of the area for Shinji Kagawa, but Guillermo Ochoa managed to get in the way of his poked shot.
Just before the 10-minute mark, Japan thought they had the lead as Shinji Okazaki flicked Endo’s 20-yard low drive into the goal, but the attacker was harshly adjudged to be offside.
Jose Manuel de la Torre’s men began to offer more of an attacking threat as the first period neared its conclusion and they soon created the best opportunity of the half as Jorge Torres Nilo crossed from the left, but Andres Guardado’s diving header came back off the post.
The second half saw Mexico start in impressive fashion as they poured men forward and they soon took advantage as Guardado shifted the ball away from Hiroki Sakai on the left flank before crossing for Hernandez to beat his marker and the goalkeeper to head in at the near post.
Okazaki soon went close for Japan from 25 yards, but Mexico had the luxury of a clinical striker in form and Hernandez got his second of the match as he headed in at the far post after Hiram Mier flicked on Dos Santos’ in-swinging corner with just over 20 minutes left.
Japan pulled one back with just five minutes remaining when Endo played a controlled volley across the face of the Mexico goal from the right and Okazaki tapped it in.
The stage was set for Hernandez to get his third of the evening in stoppage time as he won a penalty after being bundled over, but Kawashima and then the crossbar denied the 25-year-old striker.
|Coach: A. Zaccheroni|
for H. Sakai 58'
for R. Maeda 65'
for Y. Nagatomo 77'
|Pedro keen on emulating Iniesta|
|Pochettino not interested in January purchases|
|Poyet calls for mid-season break|
|Iajour up for Bayern test|
|Martinez seeking ´short-term solutions´ in transfer window|
|Kompany urges City to remain focused|
|Rodgers glad he avoided Tottenham|
|Del Piero in line to take on Juventus in Australia|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Valencia scrape through, Bilbao thrash Celta|
|Primeira Liga: Maritimo 2 Braga 2|
|Galliani to stay at Milan|
|Klopp plays down Club World Cup|
|Schalke coach Keller not fearing the sack|
|Wilshere loses appeal against two-match ban|
|Zaha on Pardew´s radar|
|Milan will be my final club, says Abbiati|
|Anigo to remain at Marseille helm for time being|
|Premier League Preview: West Brom v Hull City|
|No Bankia involvement in Bale deal, says Perez|
|Galliani wants stronger Milan youth system|
|Rafinha extends Bayern contract|
|Premier League Preview: Stoke City v Aston Villa|
|Poyet: No excuse not to perform|
|Vanishing spray to be used at World Cup|
|Gabbidon praises Palace strike pair|
|Premier League Preview: Manchester United v West Ham|
|Hughton calls for Norwich City to show character|
|Premier League Preview: Fulham v Manchester City|
|Samaras attracting Lazio interest|
|Premier League Preview: Liverpool v Cardiff City|
|Rodgers backs Mackay at Cardiff|
|Foster back fit and raring for West Brom recall|
|De Boer agent denies Tottenham contact|
|Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace v Newcastle United|
|Hungary appoint Pinter as new coach|
|Iniesta signs new Barca contract|
|Rodgers coy over Suarez talks|
|Jagielka hopes for fresh faces at Everton to help top-four push|
|A-League: Central Coast 1 Wellington 0|
|Spain end top of FIFA rankings for sixth year running|
|Allardyce disappointed to draw Manchester City|
|Pascoe hails ´unbelievable´ Suarez|
|Vorm knee surgery brought forward|
|Blanc hails Cavani brace|
|Michu wants Aspas to join Swansea City|
|Hoeness plays down Bayern treble suggestions|
|Dzeko confident he can fill Aguero void|
|Moyes: No loan offers for Zaha|
|Kiessling calls for Leverkusen response|
|Matuidi: Cavani on par with Ibrahimovic|
|Yeboah set to join Borussia Monchengladbach|
|Rooney a ´chance´ to face West Ham|
|FIFA Club World Cup Preview: Bayern Munich v Raja Casablanca|
|Benzarti praises ´extremely talented´ Raja Casablanca|
|Ranieri unsure over Falcao return|
|Coupe de La Ligue Wrap: Cavani leads PSG to dramatic win|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Real Madrid through as Sevilla crash out|
|Tottenham job appeals to Sherwood|
|Sherwood gutted after defeat|
|Hughes: United worthy winners|
|Moyes pleased to see United weather storm|
|Allardyce hails West Ham fight|
|Coppa Italia: Juventus 3 Avellino 0|
|Manchester clubs kept apart in League Cup semi draw|
|League Cup: Tottenham 1 West Ham 2|
|League Cup: Stoke City 0 Manchester United 2|
|FIFA Club World Cup: Raja Casablanca 3 Atletico Mineiro 1|
|Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan abandoned due to heavy rain|
|United face anxious Rooney wait over injury|
|Messi making good progress|
|Ramos ban overturned|
|Osvaldo charged by FA|
|In-demand Ince offered new Blackpool deal|
|Molde confirm Solskjaer approaches|
|Kramer keen to continue home record|
|Rodgers: Henderson has potential to get even better|
|Ruiz on Anderlecht´s radar|
|Swansea, Hull fined by FA over player behaviour|
|Leeds keen on re-signing Gradel|
|Leverkusen announce Ryu deal|
|Ribery named Bundesliga Player of the Year|
|Moyes: No Zaha interest|
|Barcelona, Real Madrid in European Commission investigation|
|Basel: No Tottenham approach for Yakin|
|Chelsea set for Guarin bid, agent claims|
|Lewandowski has Dortmund goal concerns|
|Pogba, Pirlo will not sign before Christmas, says Marotta|
|Guardiola convinced to join Bayern after ´meat´ and greet|
|Martinez: Everton seen as a ´perfect´ loan destination|
|Anderlecht ´perfect´ for Defour, says Van Holsbeeck|
|Watford appoint Sannino|
|Sakho feels ´lucky´ to play with Suarez|
|Lippi: Too many teams competing in Club World Cup|
|Moyes ´told Welbeck to learn from Rooney´|
|I would kill myself over match-fixing, says Gattuso|
|Hughes dismisses calls for Januzaj protection|
|Aguero ´could miss up to two months´|
|Guardiola lauds Ballon d´Or nominee Ribery|
|Liverpool open Suarez contract talks|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Barcelona, Levante cruise through|
|A-League Preview: Derby date beckons for winless Heart|
|Pearson upbeat despite Leicester defeat|
|Poyet urges Sunderland to build on Chelsea win|
|Mourinho rues missed chances|