Oribe Peralta's hat trick finishes off New Zealand, sends Mexico to World Cup
While you were (likely) sleeping, Oribe Peralta did his best Cristiano Ronaldo impression.
The Santos Laguna forward's hat trick lifted Mexico to a 4-2 second-leg win over New Zealand in their intercontinental World Cup qualifying playoff, a result that cemented El Tri's place in Brazil on a 9-3 aggregate. Peralta did all of his damage in the first half in similar fashion, tallying on loosely marked finishes in the box.
Mexico has Peralta to thank in great part for qualifying for the World Cup, as he scored five of El Tri's goals in the playoffs to go along with his five goals in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying leading up to the final two-game showdown. After everything Mexico went through in the last year -- losing the Azteca mystique, cycling through four managers during a qualifying campaign that was disappointing at best and being saved by Graham Zusi -- it still managed to reach Brazil, along with fellow regional participants Honduras, Costa Rica and the Hexagonal-topping USA.
Here are highlights of the Peralta show: