Villalobos sparks Mexican fightback
Mexico exploded into life in the final period to defeat Japan 4-3 on their Marseille 2008 debut. Ramon Raya's side trailed 1-0 heading into the last 12 minutes, but a Ricardo Villalobos double thrust them to victory in what he described as a "must-win game".
Katsuhiro Yoshii‘s goal for Japan was all that separated the teams following 24 minutes. But if the first two periods had been shy of action, the third compensated. Japan took just two seconds to double their lead courtesy of a Teruki Tabata volley, but within 50 seconds the scores were level, Israel Santoyo poking home Mexico's first before Ricardo Villalobos bravely headed home the equaliser.
El Tri keeper Miguel Estrada then made a fine save to deny Japan another goal straight from the restart, but he was helpless to prevent Tomoya Uehara edging the Asians in front. However, after Christopher Flores had made it 3-3, another Villalobos header snatched Mexico all three points.