Mexico national team eliminated from Copa America with 0-0 draw to Ecuador

Credit: Mexico National Team

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Credit: Mexico National Team

The Mexico national soccer team played its last game in the 2024 Copa America this Sunday, June 30, against Ecuador at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Mexico was obligated to win the match to advance to the quarterfinal stage of the competition but failed miserably in that attempt with a scoreless draw against Ecuador.

Jaime Lozano made two changes to the lineup that lost 1-0 against Venezuela at Sofi Stadium, with Cesar Huerta replacing Uriel Antuna and Orbelin Pineda starting in place of Carlos Rodriguez. Ecuador kept a consistent lineup from their previous match, with the exception of team captain Enner Valencia, returning after a red card in Ecuador’s first match against Jamaica.

The first half was highly contested and resulted in quite a physical and tiring duel between these sides. There were no goals to show for it and no shots on target for El Tri in the opening 45 minutes.

Mexico played better in the second half than in the first half, with Ecuador opting to defend the scoreless result with rigid defensive play. Players like Moises Caicedo, Piero Hincapie, Willian Pacho, and Felix Torres did a phenomenal job containing the Mexico offense. Angelo Preciado shut down Mexico’s Julian Quinones in what remained a very physical clash in Arizona.

In the 65th minute, Mexico had its clearest scoring opportunity of the night when Santiago Gimenez smashed the post with a shot from the right side of the box. Ecuador continued to tire out Mexico with exceptional defensive play, and this culminated with a called penalty for Mexico in stoppage time that was actually a stunning defensive play by Felix Torres.

Torres touched the ball on the called penalty and the call was reversed by VAR with the game ending scoreless and Mexico being eliminated from the competition.

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El Tri desperately tried to generate some play in the final moments of the game, even with goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez, but this desperate punt resulted in nothing. Mexico finished third in Group B of the competition with four points and were eliminated due to goal differential with Ecuador.

Offense was the biggest issue for Mexico in this Copa America with just one goal in the three group stage games. Star striker Santiago Gimenez was the biggest disappointment on the team with no goals in these games after a stellar campaign in Europe.

Mexican football has been on a downward spiral ever since being grouped in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and there have been very few attempts at making a change since then. Lozano is the second manager since that World Cup fiasco, but patience with him will be on a very tight leash from now on.

There are no World Cup qualifiers for Mexico, as now just friendly games await El Tri in September against New Zealand and Canada.

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