Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez scored a goal each to move Mexico closer to a spot in the round of 16 by beating South Korea 2-1 Saturday at the FIFA World Cup 2018. Mexico, which upset defending champion Germany in their opening match, took the lead when Vela converted from the penalty spot in the 26th minute. The Mexicans were awarded the penalty after Jang Hyun-soo handled the ball while trying to stop a cross from Andres Guardado. (FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 SCHEDULE & RESULTS)
The criticism of Mexico's national team heading into the World Cup was loud and scathing. The answer has been emphatic.
"We didn't listen to the criticism," said Javier Hernandez, one of the scorers against South Korea. "It was just noise."
Mexico opened their World Cup by upsetting defending champion Germany 1-0. The second victory on Saturday gives them six points and a chance to win Group F on Wednesday when the team faces Sweden.
"We want the Mexican people to enjoy this. We are going to enjoy it," Hernandez said. "But as of tomorrow we will be working hard thinking about Sweden and regardless of the results of the matches against Germany and South Korea, we are going to go out there to get the three points."
Hernandez and Carlos Vela scored a goal each at Rostov Arena. Vela converted from the penalty spot in the 26th minute after Jang Hyun-soo handled the ball while trying to stop a cross from Andres Guardado.
Hernandez added the second in the 66th, scoring his 50th goal for Mexico. He hit the ball low past goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo after collecting a pass from Hirving Lozano.
"We have beaten two brilliant and complicated teams, Germany and South Korea," Hernandez said. "Our talent and hard work have paid off."
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said he prepared more for the match against South Korea than for the game against Germany.
"Very often when you play countries or teams with less of a footballing history, human beings tend to rest on their laurels a little bit. They tend to relax, they tend to lose focus, so every weekend, every match, we insist on being fully focused on not losing that important message," Osorio said. "We've received a lot of praise, we the team, and we've tried to remain focused."
Son Heung-min scored a consolation goal for South Korea in injury time, sending a powerful shot past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
The South Koreans, who have lost their opening two matches, kept Ochoa under pressure throughout the match with Son often out-sprinting the Mexican defense.
Mexico relied on keeping possession and long-range shots, with a powerful attempt from Guardado forcing an athletic save from Jo in the second half. A volley from Vela skimmed the bar minutes later.
Mexican fans avoided using a chant, which is considered to be homophobic by FIFA, against the opposing goalkeeper. The chant earned the country's soccer federation a fine after the previous match.
Mexico will face Sweden on Wednesday in Yekaterinburg with a chance to win Group F, a prospect that could set up a match against Brazil in the round of 16.
South Korea will face Germany at the same time in Kazan.
Mexico have reached the round of 16 in six straight World Cups, but the team has not advanced to the quarterfinals since playing at home in 1986.
Winning the group with three straight victories will be a good sign, but getting past the next round is the ultimate goal.