1) Juan Carlos Osorio got it wrong.
The problem with Juan Carlos Osorio is he can be far too ambitious sometimes. Osorio admitted in his press conference after the game that he got things completely wrong and apologized about the result. For starters, you can’t blame Osorio for backing his team to control the game, but fact of the matter is Chile deserved more respect than Osorio initially thought. The Colombian manager opted for a brave midfield of Jesus Dueñas, Andres Guardado, and Hector Herrera, and within seconds, Chile made their technical superiority in the midfield count.
Chile’s pressing increased as the game wore on and it eventually told. After the 3-0, the game was essentially over, and Mexico were left to crash and burn at Levi’s Stadium.
There is little wrong with a coach for instinctively believing his team is better than the other, but you get the sense that Mexico saw this coming in a friendly against this same Chile side two weeks ago. In that respect, there is little to forgive Osorio about when he failed to address the issues everybody saw as evident in the first Chile game.
Mexico’s Copa America Centenario title aspirations were shattered in the most agonizing fashion as El Tri were demolished 7-0 by Chile in Santa Clara, California on Saturday.
Four goals for Eduardo Vargas, two goals for Edson Puch, and one for Alexis Sanchez saw La Roja inflict Mexico their most lopsided defeat in their history.
Less than 15 minutes had gone when Edson Puch fired Chile into the lead following a rebounded Marcelo Diaz shot.
Chile’s high pressing was always going to be a test for Juan Carlos Osorio’s side, and La Roja looked by far the more dominant side on the field.
But it wasn’t until the stroke of halftime that Chile made their dominance count as Eduardo Vargas made it 2-0 for La Roja.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s half-time team talk must had done little for El Tri, and Alexis Sanchez finished a delightful passing sequence to put things at 3-0.
Eduardo Vargas then scored twice in a space of five minutes to grab his hat-trick with 30 minutes still to go in the game.
In the 74th minute, Vargas piled the agony for Mexico with a poker following some woeful defending from Hector Moreno and Miguel Layun.
With the game more than sealed, Puch made it an embarrassing 7-0 as La Roja set up a date with Colombia in the Copa America Centenario semifinals.
With the result, Mexico saw their 22-game unbeaten run come to an end as Juan Carlos Osorio suffered his first defeat in front of El Tri.
The group stage is over, and we are now at the latter part of the Copa America Centenario. Mexico travel to Santa Clara, California to take on Chile for a place in the semifinals.
It’s undoubtedly the most engaging tie of the round. Mexico have been typically consistent, finishing top of their group with two victories and a draw. Chile have gone from less to more in this tournament, bouncing back from an opening defeat to Argentina to earn two straight wins.
But the reason that this match offers something the others don’t is these two sides couldn’t possibly have got better opponents to play given their style. Part of that is because Mexico and Chile are two of the most technically gifted sides remaining in this Copa America, which means that this could well make this match one of the most entertaining games of the whole tournament.
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has said before he wants to give Mexico his own adventurous futbol identity. Predicting his starting lineup, however, has proved to be a perplexing task, and in that regard, some criticism has been heeded. While Osorio has tinkered and toyed with his midfield and defense, playing with three forwards has been a common staple. On paper, at least, it shows Osorio’s attacking intent.
Needless to say, Mexico struggle against more tactical sides, something Chile isn’t. In their last group stage game against Venezuela, Mexico seemed like a side waiting for one of their three forwards to produce a moment of brilliance, rather than from a well-constructed play. Something that eventually occurred through the magic of Jesus “Tecatito” Corona’s feet. Against Chile, though, the speculation is Mexico will have more space to exploit.
As such, Chile will be thinking much along the same lines. In Mexico, Chile won’t have to worry about unlocking a packed defense, as evidenced in a friendly against El Tri two weeks ago. Furthermore, Osorio’s side try to play out from the back, which can be made difficult by Chile’s routine pressing.
Of course, Chile are the defending Copa America champions, and in that respect, it carries a sort of pressure on manager Juan Antonio Pizzi and his players. But make no mistake, Chile will back themselves to control this game, and have plenty of firepower in their ranks with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal on the field.
The bottom line is you won’t see a better match-up than this one in the Copa America. Either one country will be closer to their final objective or the other will remain with its hands firmly on the trophy.
– Probable lineups
Chile: Claudio Bravo; Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara, Eugenio Mena; Marcelo Diaz, Charles Aranguiz; Eduardo Vargas, Arturo Vidal, Jean Beausejour; Alexis Sanchez
Mexico: Alfredo Talavera; Paul Aguilar, Nestor Arauajo, Hector Moreno, Miguel Layun; Hector Herrera, Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado; Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, and Hirving Lozano
Where to watch: Saturday, June 18, 10:00pm EST, Univision, Univision Deportes Network, FX, and Fubo TV (Free trial + monthly subscription)
1) Tecatito the gamechanger.
It seems like we’ve been here before. Rather characteristically for Mexico, having spurned so many chances, there was a sense it would take a special moment to change things. It happened in San Pedro Sula, and it happened again on Monday night at NRG Stadium, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona.
Juan Carlos Osorio has tinkered and toyed with his attackers in the past, but if there is one player he has full confidence in, it is Tecatito. The Porto winger came on as a first half substitute for the injured Javier Aquino and improved as the game wore on.
In the second half, there was a mounting inevitability about Jesus “Tecatito” Corona. His tricky runs on the wing were noted when a shot screamed just wide of Daniel Hernandez’s goal. But there was nothing Hernandez could do to stop Tecatito’s equalizer. It was a thing of beauty as Tecatito dribbled his way into the box before firing past hapless Hernandez. It was a special goal, the kind only special players can produce.
Venezuela were denied first place in Group C thanks to a Jesus “Tecatito” Corona golazo as Mexico came from a goal down to win their group with a 1-1 draw.
Venezuela were far brighter in the first few minutes, and they made their early intent pay when Jose Manuel Velazquez fired in an overhead kick past Jose de Jesus Corona to give La Vinotinto the lead.
Venezuela then went on the backfoot for much of the remainder of the half, but managed to sustain large periods of pressure thanks in large part by their goalkeeper Daniel Hernandez.
Mexicans players appealed for a handball with just minutes in the first half remaining, but the referee was not interested as Venezuela went into the break with the lead.
Mexico began the second half in a rapid pace, aided by second half substitute Miguel Layun. The FC Porto defender twice tested the Venezuelan goalkeeper from long range, only to be denied.
In fact, Hernandez was one of the best Venezuelan players on the field, and his double-save sequence kept his team in the game with less than 20 minutes to go.
But in the 80th minute, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona scored one of the goals of the tournament. Tecatito weaved his way past several defenders before striking a shot past a hapless Hernandez to level the score for Mexico.
Venezuela had a late chance to win it when Josef Martinez nearly scored the game’s third golazo with a bicycle kick but Corona was forced to a one-handed save as Venezuela and Mexico settled for a 1-1 draw.
With the result, El Tri will now travel to Santa Clara, California to take on either Panama or Chile in the quarterfinals of the Copa America Centenario.