UCL Group Stage is Done, but Mexican Futbolista Dominance Has Only Just Begun

Andres Guardado of PSV during the Dutch Eredivisie match between PEC Zwolle and PSV Eindhoven at IJsseldelta stadium on September 13, 2014 in Zwolle, The Netherlands.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Welp, that’s it – group stage action has come to an end, dragging the Champions League campaigns of four Mexican internationals along with it. Thankfully, three cracks made the cut: Andrés Guardado and Héctor Moreno of PSV Eindhoven, the second-seeded team in Group B, and Raúl Jiménez and Benfica, Group C’s number two.

Miguel Layún, Héctor Herrera, Jesús Tecatito Corona and Chicharito Hernández all failed to advance (did you predict that these results would be flipped too?). But it isn’t all doom and gloom for the boys; it is with great delight that I announce the commencement of operation Europa takeover, because let’s be real – if you really think that a team like Tottenham will be able to handle this kind of El Tri dynamite, well, you’re delusional. Get ready for Europa golazos. Lots of them.

European competition isn’t the only place where fútbol fans around the world have had a chance to witness a show with distinctly Mexican flair – domestic leagues have been heavily influenced by these superstars as well. Upon proposing a debate re: who’s closing out the year in the most spectacular fashion, one fan provided a perfectly deft opinion:

We’re all winners. This season has been nothing short of brilliant. ICYMI, here are some of our dudes’ most recent noteworthy accomplishments:

Super captain Andrés Guardado and Héctor Moreno. Champions League: ✔️

Both Guardado and Moreno played full 90s en route to a 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow and a coveted spot in the round of 16 – the former making up for his tackle-turned-penalty by helping to set up the equalizer, the latter featuring at left back as a part of Rui Vitória’s super conservative starting XI.

Raúl Jiménez: Champions League: ✔️

Despite difficulties since arriving at Benfica and a 2-1 loss to old coach Cholo Simeone and the Atleti boys, Jiménez scored (/assisted!) when it mattered, helping his team advance to the knockout stages. The Portuguese side lost on Tuesday, yes, but Jiménez sent Kostas Mitroglou a dime pass to score in addition to the two goals he netted in his previous UCL appearance, a fight from 2-0 down to tie FC Astana.

Miguel Layundowski, Héctor Herrera and Tecatito Corona: ❌

To our great disappointment, Porto was unable to overcome pure evil on Wednesday. But what they may have lacked in goalscoring against Chelsea, they more than made up for over the weekend. The side has been having absolutely no trouble in Primeira; Porto extended its undefeated run to 12 with a 2-1 win over Paços de Ferreira this past Saturday.

Tecatito struck first with this cheeky chip over the goalie and garnered Man of the Match honors:

And HH – who Juan Carlos Osorio recently referred to as being “Schweinsteiger-level good” – was tripped up in the box to set up a Layundowski penalty kick finish for the win. Oh yes.

Chicharito Hernández:❌

It seems like everyday is Chicharo’s day as of late. He’s out of the UCL but there’s no doubt that he will continue to be fully in – I’m talking 150% – in every other competition that he takes part in this year. He simply can’t not score! He’s struck 12 times in 11 games, leveling things vs. Hertha Berlin over the weekend and drawing even with Barcelona midweek.

His unprecedented success (and that of his countrymen) is heartwarming beyond belief. Thanks for a great year, legends. ??