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Hernandez proves vital to Mexico success as a 1-0 win over Panama grants World Cup bid

Our first Hammer to qualify for the World Cup!

Mexico Training & Press Conference - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

That’s the kind of fun we like to have here at Brace The Hammer.

Let’s go ahead and put on our blinders and ignore everything else going on in the West Ham United sphere. Javier Hernandez and Mexico have officially locked up their World Cup 2018 campaign last night with a 1-0 victory over Panama, at the Azteca. The good news for West Ham fans is Hernandez played the full 90 minutes and was heavily involved in creating chances.

The first half was a bit uneventful as both sides struggled to find their footing in the midfield. The best chance for Mexico came in the 39’ minute as Chicharito curled one towards the back post that went inches wide. Mexico wouldn’t break through until the 53’ minute when Hirving Lozano splashed the net. Jesús Corona was wonderful in keeping the ball in play against closing defenders and curled in a sensational ball that found Lozano on the receiving end.

Chicharito and Mexico weren’t finished just yet. In the 74’ minute Hernandez set up a sitter for Javier Aquino. Unfortunately, Aquino skies an absolute tap in out of excitement and the match would continue 1-0 in Mexico’s favor. The last twenty minutes were tense as Panama poured on the attack but Guillermo Ochoa showed his quality and kept the clean sheet intact. It was a much needed win for the constantly scrutinized coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, who has come under fire for his poor rotation and sudden tactical changes.

Mexico will now go on to the World Cup along with the other recently qualified teams - Japan, Brazil, and Iran. Check out the full match highlights below!

Mexico will now set their sights onto fellow victors, Costa Rica, on September 5th, in La Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica.