At Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Oribe Peralta scored twice and Mexico beat New Zealand 5-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of their intercontinental playoff to close in on a spot in the World Cup next year.
Paul Aguilar put Mexico ahead in the 32nd minute, and Raúl Jiménez made it 2-0 before the break. Peralta scored his first goal 3 minutes into the second half, collecting a cross from the left and slotting home a shot from 6 yards. He made it 4-0 with an 80th-minute header, and Rafael Márquez added scored in the 84th. Chris James scored a minute later for New Zealand.
The second leg is next Wednesday in Wellington, New Zealand.
"We're going to go there like the score is 0-0, like we need a winning goal," Mexico coach Miguel Herrera said.
Mexico scored only seven goals in 10 qualifying games, but broke through under new coach Herrera. The former coach of the Mexico City's Club América, Herrera, who was hired for only El Tri's two playoff matches against New Zealand, declined to speculate about his future.
"I am the coach for two games, and I won an important one," Herrera said. "Afterward they [Mexican soccer federation] will decide and we hope they make the right decision. One could put together a sensational team."
Herrera, the team's fourth coach in two months, used only players based in Mexico's domestic league.
Mexico finished behind the United States, Costa Rica and Honduras in CONCACAF qualifying, with those three advancing automatically to Brazil. Mexico only secured fourth place after the U.S. scored two late goals to beat Panama last month.
In Amman, Jordan, Uruguay also all but guaranteed itself a spot at the Cup Final by defeating Jordan, 5-0. In something of an understatement, coach Oscar Tabárez told reporters, "There are countless ways of winning in football. Today we didn't play well, but we had very good finishing."
The return legs of both home-and-away series are scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.