Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

New Blog for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Its time!!

¡¡¡Ya llego el mundial!!!

Three years have passed since the Copa America and we are in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Follow us in the new blog: http://wcsa10.wordpress.com/

Uruguay 1 – 3 Mexico

El Tri finishes third in the Copa America, for the third time after a controversial penalty and some good play from its young guns.

Hugo wins the bronze

It started off slow until Uruguay got another goal from El Loco Abreu. Abreu didn’t play too many minutes during Copa America, but he made the most of the ones he did play.

The fun for Uruguay wouldn’t last too long because the game changed after a great free kick by Mexico smashed against the crossbar and somewhere in the scrum the Uruguayan captain Diego Lugano shoved his forearm into the face of Torrado. At least thats what it looked like to me. The ref saw something more violent because he sent off Lugano with a red card and awarded a penalty to Mexico. Nery Castillo looked ready to take the kick but Blanco claimed the shot and the young star wouldn’t deny the Mexican legend in what might very well be his last international match. Cuauh ran for about 20 yards and struck in an unstoppable shot to tie the game.

Playing a man down Uruguay gave Mexico a lot more space to move and that gave Omar Bravo and Andres Guardado a goal each to claim the bronze medal in the tournament. A feel good win for Mexico that will give Hugo momentum as his team thinks about 2010. Uruguay leave a lot of doubts with Alvaro Recoba announcing his retirement from the national team and not as bright of a future as their fans would like.

The Star

Gerardo Torrado. M, Mexico.
I spotted a trend. Torrado plays – Mexico plays well and gets results. Torrado is out – Mexico goes backwards. Not a flashy player by any means, but crucial to the Mexican national team.

The Ugly Duckling

Diego Lugano. D, Uruguay
The only player to get the distinction in back to back games, the team captain misses the last penalty shot against Brazil and then gives away the bronze to Mexico after a foolish foul.

Top Goal Scorer Copa America 2007

There is no trophy that I know of for this achievement, but being the top goal scorer in any competitions is always the secondary objective of a striker (the first being winning it all!). It is a bit of a surprise to see Riquelme this high but he really has been the life of Argentina and their key player in Copa America. I think that if Crespo starts tomorrow then it will be unlikely to see Riquelme take the top goal scorer title from Brazil’s Robinho.

As you can see in the top goal scorers table Robinho has a one goal advantage over Riquelme and while Robinho still is Brazil’s main threat on attack, Juan Roman will be primarily looking for assists and not shots on goal, except for anything from a free kick. However if Riquelme can score one more goal than Robinho in the final, they will share the trophy. If he scores two goals more than Robinho, then its his for keeps. But I would expect that regardless of the outcome of the final, Brazil and Real Madrid forward Robinho will be the top goal scorer for Copa America Venezuela.

Of course, watch out for Nery Castillo who might come and ruin the party by knocking in a hat trick today! Actually I don’t even know if Nery is fit and will play but you never know…

Mexico and Uruguay Playing for Pride

In a game that means little on paper, both Mexico and Uruguay are coming out today to leave Copa America 2007 on a high note and start their campaigns for the 2010 World Cup with some momentum.

Mexico has had an excellent tournament so far. After a bad Gold Cup, the press and the fans were very critical of their coach Hugo Sanchez. It seemed possible that Hugo wouldn’t be around to see them into South Africa after yet another loss against the United States in the final. Their first game in Copa America changed all that. After beating Brazil and going on to winning their group, people started gaining confidence in Hugo and a team without all their stars. Having a super talented Nery Castillo in the team didn’t hurt in the least either. In the semifinals, they were rightfully beaten by a superior Argentina, however to that point they displayed great football and great results. Hugo Sanchez is now here to stay.

The Uruguayans path to this game was completely the opposite. They were horrible for practically all tournament. Sleepwalking through the group stages without Alvaro Recoba in the lineup. Forlan was awful missing practically everything his way and the team never was in sync. They only advanced into the second round of play because they were placed in the weakest group of the bunch and even so, they barely made it. If that wasn’t enough, their first match against Venezuela was easily the worst game of the tournament and perhaps of Copa America history. When everyone had written them off, the Uruguayans came through in the quarter finals with a 4-1 win over Venezuela that saw more scoring than in their previous 3 games. Then they gave Brazil its run for the money in the semifinals, a game where they had the win in several occasions but never came through. Credit Recoba and Abreu for delivering for their team when it mattered and the always well dressed coach, Oscar Washington Tabarez, for tinkering around with this tactics until he found one that worked. They are a team getting better, not worse, but still have to get rid of that inconsistency that they are known for.

Two teams that came to Venezuela with question marks will leave feeling more optimistic about the next World Cup, but which one will go home feeling more satisfied and with the consolation of being the bronze squad? That is what they play for today.

The best loser

Copa America Venezuela 2007 – Third place game

Uruguay vs Mexico – Saturday 14 July 2007 5:00pm EDT on Univision and GolTV (not espn)
Played in Caracas (is this the first game in Caracas?)

Odds:
Mexico – 2.10
Uruguay – 3.15
Tie – 3.25

Mexico 0 – 3 Argentina

Mexico’s defense crumbles against Riquelme and Messi.

Perhaps it wasn’t the great game everybody expected, but don’t blame Messi for not trying. The Barcelona striker played his best game of the tournament, and overshadowed another brilliant performance by Riquelme.

Each half had its own story.
The first 45 minutes were Mexico’s best. They played well, attacking often and with many players, having some good chances to score. Most notable was Andres Guardado’s horrible shot after a great play to get a wide open look at Abbondanzieri. The new Deportivo signing chose to shoot with his left foot when the angle called for a shot with the right and Andres missed what was to be the best opportunity for his country. It could have given Mexico the lead and changed the game but it would not happen. Argentina had some chances of their own but Tevez wasn’t sharp tonight.

It took a cheeky trick play out of a set piece to get Argentina on top. Riquelme lined up to take a free kick on goal but he instead took an indirect one, lobbing a picture perfect pass to the far post where Heinze came in with a karate chop kick to put in the 1-0. It was a perfect call since the Mexicans were out of position to defend Heinze who usually poses no threat in that position. With the momentum now clearly shifted to Argentina’s side, the teams went to the locker rooms for halftime.

When they emerged in the second half, Mexico was doomed. Hugo Sanchez subbed out a lifeless Cacho and his midfielder Torrado, and while benching Cacho was the right move, without Torrado their midfield collapsed. They looked like the Mexico in the Gold Cup final against the USA, confused and beaten. The defense was particularly horrible in the second half leaving wide open spaces everywhere. That was the perfect situation for Messi who’s dribbling thrives in those wide spaces. Thats how Argentina’s second goal came to play, a wide open Messi runs in and lobs the ball over a badly positioned Oswaldo Sanchez for a great goal, a golazo!

Lionel Messi

Messi after scoring a brilliant goal

From that point on it was all Argentina. Mexico resorted to give long balls to Nery Castillo who was very quiet all alone up front. He was very well defended by Heinze – who really had a sensational game – and Ayala. Even so he still managed to come close to scoring scraping the crossbar off a shot. The rest of the Mexicans did more fouling than playing and it was a cheap foul by the captain Rafa Marquez that gave Riquelme his fifth goal of the tournament off a penalty kick.

Argentina confirms their date with Brazil in the classic duel of South American titans.
Mexico and Uruguay will meet the day before as the teams that came close but not quite enough.

The Star

Lionel Messi. F, Argentina
Rafa Marquez - cryingRiquelme was great but Messi was better. Mexico’s defense had gaps and that is where Messi plays his best.

The Ugly Duckling

Rafael Marquez. D, Mexico
Extremely sloppy play from Messi’s teammate at Barcelona. Was slow and out of place a lot of the time and resorted to fouling including the penalty that sealed the game for Argentina.

Semifinal 2: Mexico vs Argentina

This is the battle many have been waiting for. The rematch of the best game in the 2006 world cup!

June 24, 2006 is when the two sides met up in Leipzig in the round of 16. Mexico went up with a goal by captain Rafa Marquez. Shortly after Borghetti scored an own goal on a corner to equalize at 1-1. An exciting game ended with a 1-1 but during extra time Maxi Rodriguez came up with a sensational goal to give Argentina a 2-1 victory.

Maxi Rodriguez won’t be playing this time. Neither will Crespo who is out injured. But a lot of the factors in last year’s matchup return and expect a high energy, high emotion game. One to not miss. Carlos Tevez won’t. He replaces Diego Milito in the starting lineup. Nery Castillo is nuring a knee injury but it expected to suck it up and play. Without Nery, Argentina can cruise to victory. With him, Mexico can challenge anyone.

Gametime and odds:

Mexico vs Argentina. 8:30pm EDT. Univision/GolTV
Mexico – 5.25
Argentina – 1.55
Tie – 3.75

Replay on Fox Sports en Español at midnight EDT. No coverage on ESPN or ESPN2 so don’t look for it there.

Transfer Update

Some Copa America players changing clubs today before their big semifinal game.

  • Gabriel Milito, Argentina. One of the most impressive defenders in Copa America is moving from Zaragoza to Barcelona. Barça will be paying $23.4 million for the Argentine defender who joins Leoniel Messi but leaves his brother Diego Milito behind.
  • Andres Guardado, Mexico. The international midfielder moves from club Atlas to Deportivo La Coruña for $9.5 million. PSV Eindhoven had a deal for $6.1 million. Guardado joins his countryman Rafael Marquez in the Spanish La Liga.

Smooches

Andres Guardado and his wife Briana Morales are headed to La Coruña

Nery Castillo

Now we’ve already heard from Olympiakos, saying their striker Nery Castillo is not for sale. Somehow I have a hard time believing Nery will be going back to Greece after Copa America. A lot of goals, a lot of speed and too much great play for him not to get bids from the big European powerhouses. He may not be for sale but everybody has a price.

Football Manager, the popular football sim game has his value tagged at $7 million (approx 5 million euro or 3.5 million pound sterling). That seems pretty darn cheap and expect to see that price skyrocket. BTW, if you’re a lazy footy executive, the contact page for Olympiakos is here.

Nery Castillo

The new star of Mexico. So long Borghetti.

Mexico 6 – 0 Paraguay

Nery Castillo is taken down

It rained. Rained goals.

Mexico wasted no time in capitalizing off of Paraguay’s numerous errors to win in dominating fashion.

Nery Castillo murdered Paraguay.

Two minutes into the game Caceres does his best Jonathan Bornstein impersonation making a sloppy and amateurish back pass. Nery sprints and picks up the ball before the keeper can get there and Bobavilla can’t avoid the takedown. Penalty for Mexico. Red card for Bobavilla. The Guarani coach Gerardo Martino sends in their third goalkeeper but he stood no chance against Nery on the penalty kick. Mexico 1 – Paraguay 0. A difficult start for Paraguay.

It would only get worse for them.

Playing a man down there was tons of space on defense and this was only exacerbated because Caceres and Barreto both played terrible. Nery was unselfish giving his teammates three scores – of which only one was properly finished (another was erroneously called an offsides, the other was missed horribly wide by Correa). The good karma would return back to Nery as he received a lob pass which he elegantly nailed for the 3-0. It was halftime in the game, but fulltime for Paraguay’s hopes of winning La Copa.

The second half brought some changes to both teams. Nery going out with a small injury and Paraguay making tactical changes, as only Cardozo was a threat to score early on – not Roque Santa Cruz nor Cabañas. The Paraguayans were more organized in the second half, and actually managed to look like professionals and not kids playing after school. Barretto and Santa Cruz both had great chances to score but their attacking spirit was more spiritual than anything. They would never have a chance to really get back into this game.

Paraguay is a completely different team from several years back. A casual fan who hasn’t seen any of their games lately might keep thinking this is a defensive powerhouse, relying on counterattacks and long balls to score. Gone are those days. Because gone are Chilavert and Gamarra, a tough as nails keeper and a world class defender. The team now relies on a more open attack because their defense isn’t a shadow of what it once was. We saw this today. Of course, it never helps when you go down a man – and a goal – two minutes into a game, but the old Paraguay wouldn’t let that be. A sad end of the tournament for them and for Bobavilla who was surprisingly good in the minutes he played.

Mexico advances to the semifinals comfortably, with their only question being whether they are Nery Castillo + 10, or an actual team to beat. I’m sure that question will be answered when they meet Argentina.

Chicas before Mexico vs Paraguay

The Star

Nery Castillo. F, Mexico.
Could it have been anybody else? No. Nery, Robinho and Riquelme have been making a name for themselves in Copa America.

The Ugly Duckling

Julio Cesar Caceres. D, Paraguay.
Left his keeper Bobavilla out to try and all in all had a horrible first half.