BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil - Javier Hernandez struck for a pair of second-half goals to lift Mexico to a 2-1 victory over Japan in both teams' final match at the FIFA Confederations Cup at Estadio Mineirao on Saturday.
Nine minutes after the break, Andres Guardado played a deep cross inside the box where Hernandez stepped in front of Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and glanced a header into the goal from inside the six-yard box to give Mexico a 1-0 lead.
The Manchester United forward struck again in the 66th minute. Giovani Dos Santos' corner kick was flicked on by Hiram Mier at the near post, allowing Hernandez to put the second header into the net after shedding his marker at the back post.
Japan pulled a goal back four minutes from full time when Shinji Okazaki tapped Yasuhito Endo's cross past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa from five meters.
Hernandez, who scored all three of Mexico's goals at the Confederations Cup, had a golden chance at a hat trick after being pulled down inside the box by Atsuto Uchida one minute into second-half stoppage time. Kawashima, though, got his hand on the penalty kick and Hernandez hammered the rebound off the crossbar.
Japan had the best scoring chances early in the match, but Shinji Kagawa's point-blank low shot in the fifth minute was kicked away by Guillermo Ochoa and four minutes later Endo was ruled offside when he deflected in Okazaki's attempt.
Keisuke Honda also challenged Ochoa, but his low shot from 22 meters was saved by the goalkeeper in the 25th minute.
After absorbing early pressure, El Tri took to the attack late in the first half. In the 40th minute, Guardado bounced a header off the left post from 10 meters after latching onto a cross from Jorge Torres Nilo.
Mexico carried its momentum into the second half as Raul Jimenez was denied at the back post following a corner. Hernandez, though, wouldn't be denied two minutes afterwards with the first of his two headed goals.
Dos Santos had a chance on the hour mark, but Kawashima got a hand on his well-struck low shot that also glanced off the post for a corner kick.
Japan nearly leveled one minute later as Ryoichi Maeda had Ochoa beat, only to see his low shot from 17 meters flash past the near post.
It would prove to be a critical miss because Hernandez added an insurance goal five minutes later. That tally proved to be huge when Okazaki struck for Japan four minutes from full time.
Mexico, which was already eliminated from contention following back-to-back losses to Italy and Brazil, leave Brazil with its first win in five matches. Japan lost each of its three matches.
El Tri hope to take that confidence with them into the Gold Cup, starting with its opener against Panama on July 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.