Mexico tough it out to top Group C
Mexico tough it out to top Group C
In the duel to decide who finished top of Group C of the Copa America Centenario, Mexico secured a hard-earned point against Venezuela to ensure they go through to last eight as section winners
Both sides ended on seven points, with El Tri’s superior goal difference giving them first place and a quarter-final tie against the runners-up in Group D, while La Vinotinto will now face the winners of that section.
In the second game of day 11 of the competition, Uruguay bade farewell to the tournament with a comfortable win over Jamaica, who are also on the way home. FIFA.com rounds up the pick of the day’s action.
The day’s results
Mexico 1-1 Venezuela
Uruguay 3-0 Jamaica
Mexico and Venezuela played out a very entertaining game in Houston, with La Vinotinto taking an early lead courtesy of Jose Velazquez’s acrobatic volley from a set-piece. Content to then sit on their lead, the Venezuelans sought to hit on the break with their speedy forwards, who lacked the precision to extend the lead.
Sticking to their gameplan of patiently string passes together and pressing all over the pitch, El Tri finally found a way past Daniel Hernandez in the Venezuela goal thanks to a superb individual effort from Jesus Corona ten minutes from the end. The playmaker did justice to the No10 on his back by weaving his way through the Vinotinto defence and firing home.
Later in the day, Uruguay ended their forgettable campaign on a high note with a 3-0 defeat of Jamaica in Santa Clara. Nicolas Lodeiro created the first two goals, setting up Abel Hernandez for the opener, with Je-Vaughn Watson then turning Lodeiro’s low cross into his own net for the second. Mathias Corujo scored his first international goal - and the 2500th goal of Copa America history - to complete the scoring late on. Just as they did in Chile a year ago, the Caribbean side departed the competition without managing to register a point or a goal.
Highlight of the day
Mexico looked to be heading for their first defeat in 11 meetings with Venezuela, especially when Daniel Hernandez pulled off an outstanding double save from Diego Reyes and Hector Moreno at point-blank range. Substitute Jesus Corona came to the rescue for El Tri, however, leaving four opposing players trailing in his wake after a darting run from the left and powering the ball past Hernandez to level the game.
Corona’s stunning solo strike extended Mexico’s unbeaten run to 22 games, the longest in their history and eclipsing the 21-game undefeated sequence in 2004 and 2005, which came during Ricardo La Volpe’s tenure. The men in green’s last reverse came at last year’s Copa America, when they went down 2-1 to Ecuador in the group phase. Since then they have strung together 15 wins and seven draws under three different coaches, with Miguel Herrera presiding over eight of those games, Ricardo Ferretti four and current incumbent Juan Carlos Osorio ten.
3 - The number of goalkeepers Osorio has used in as many games. Alfredo Talavera was between the posts for the 3-1 win over Uruguay, Guillermo Ochoa for the 2-0 defeat of Jamaica and Jose Corona for the 1-1 draw with Venezuela. Osorio has so far used 21 of the 23 players he took to the USA, with Candido Ramirez and Carlos Pena the only ones to miss out.
What they said
“We approached the game in the best way we could. Winning is good, and we needed this to end the run of two consecutive defeats. It’ll set us up for what comes next, which is the most important thing: the World Cup qualifiers. We didn’t have the Copa America we wanted, either for ourselves or the fans, but we need to look to the future.”
Uruguay forward Abel Hernandez, following the win over Jamaica
Tuesday 14 June, Group D