Chicharito made it 50 goals for his country in his 104th International at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don, Russia, with the Mexicans booking their place in the round of 16 by securing qualification for the knockouts from Group F.
The goal itself, arriving in the 66th-minute and putting Juan Carlos Osorio’s two to the good against the South Koreans, was almost a carbon copy of the one that the Tri scored against defending champions Germany last Sunday, the only goal of that game, only the roles had reversed.
Young winger Hirving Lozano broke away on the counter-attack, looking to pick out a ball as he advanced forward and spotting “The Little Pea,” who notched eight goals in the Premier League in Claret & Blue last season.
The former Manchester United man turned and took a pair of defenders out of the game, picking his spot to the left of goalkeeper Hyun-Woo Cho and finding the back of the net with a slightly scuffed but precise finish.
That strike, and an earlier penalty from ex-Arsenal star Carlos Vela, was enough for a decisive three points for the North Americans which took them to a seventh WC knockout stage in succession, despite a stunning stoppage-time consolation from Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min.
Hernandez, now four goals ahead of Jared Borgetti in Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer list, spoke to American media outlet ESPN after the game in Rostov, commenting on his side’s triumph, reaching the personal milestone and making it to the knockout rounds at his third World Cup.
“There are no words to express all this we are going through, for me, (the 50 goals) are very special. We will try to achieve a lot more. We have to imagine amazing things.
“We have to channel all that we are going through with a lot of humility, with calm, because we’ve gone through very complicated situations and we don’t want outside noise to destabilize us. We want to stay calm and concentrate.
“We’ve beaten Germany and South Korea, two difficult teams, but tomorrow we’ll concentrate on thinking about Sweden.
“We came to Russia with a lot of criticism but we’re working hard and have a lot of talent, we have humility but we beat Germany and South Korea and now we have to play against Sweden and stay cool and calm.
“We cannot afford to get caught up in all this, we have to continue our job and stay humble, of course, we should enjoy this but tomorrow we start working again.”
“Chicha” will certainly be hoping that his team can go one better than they have the last six times in a row they have made it to the knockouts, somehow not getting to the quarter-final stage, once.
He has tasted that bitter disappointment and frustration on two occasions, long before he made the move to East London, in 2010, bowing out to Argentina through a 3-1 scoreline, a match in which Hernandez scored a consolation.
And in Brazil in 2014, being defeated by the Dutch in agonising circumstances, conceding a 94th-minute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar winner at the Estadio Castelao, this time around, it is looking likely that they will face off with the Brazilians or the Swiss.
Should they top Group F on the final Matchday, it will more than likely be Switzerland and all they need is a point against Sweden to do so, that clash will be played out next Wednesday afternoon at the Ekaterinburg Arena.
Elsewhere in Russia, two other current West Ham players are enjoying the group stage of football’s premier tournament, Senegal skipper Cheikhou Kouyate and Poland’s Lukasz Fabianski, a goalkeeper who became Manuel Pellegrini’s third signing at the London Stadium, a few days ago.
The Senegalese, off the back of shocking the Polish in their opening Group H tie, face off with Japan in Yekaterinburg this afternoon, that is a 4 PM BST kick-off with live United Kingdom television coverage being provided by the BBC, on BBC One.
In the wake of missing out on a starting place in the Lions of Teranga’s first triumph, Kouyate is expected to return from injury, whilst later the same day, 7 PM live on ITV, the Polish and Fabianski do battle with Columbians in Kazan, more than likely needing three points to stay in the competition.
Meanwhile, Portugal’s Joao Mario, a winger technically still on loan in Claret & Blue from Inter Milan, has already helped his nation and reigning European champions to the round of 16, will look to inspire them to top Group B against Iran, on Monday evening in Saransk, live on BBC in the UK.
Keep across all our platforms in the next few weeks, including our website and Twitter @WestHamMatters_, to find out how all of West Ham United’s FIFA World Cup 2018 representatives are getting on in Russia, don’t miss a tick, with us.