Mexico Starts Off Their Copa America Campaign With A Draw Against Bolivia
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Mexico’s pre-Copa America preparations are done and over with. The real deal has started for El Tri, but their performance against their first opponent, Bolivia, has fans wondering whether they are up for the challenge.
In their Group A match in the Estadio Sausalito in Vina de Mar, Mexico left fans hoping for more. They failed to spark into life in their first Copa America test, drawing the match against Bolivia 0-0.
This was a match that many believed Mexico would win, even though they took their supposed “B” team to the tournament. Bolivia has only made it out of the group stage twice since 1975. Mexico, arguably, should have won, but Bolivia wasn’t having it. They were ready for the challenge and managed to stifle any attack constructed by Mexico.
El Piojo's starting lineup included a few surprises. In a 5-3-2 formation, Mexico’s starting players were: Jose Corona, Flores, Ayala, Marquez, Dominguez, Aldrete, Guemez, Medina, Jesus Corona, Vuoso, and Eduardo Herrera up top.
Even though the end result was a dull 0-0, Mexico started off bright, with a first half that saw Jesus “Tecatito” Corona shine throughout. Most of the attacking threat posed by Mexico came from Tecatito, a highlight of the match that will be a source of optimism moving forward.
Overall, the first half saw Mexico hold most of the possession but fail to make it worthwhile, with Bolivia’s Pedriel coming close to an opener with a shot that rattled the post. Bolivia came close again in the 42nd minute of the match with a shot that Corona heroically saved to keep Mexico in the match.
Hardly any clear cut chances came for Mexico in the first half and the second half started off somewhat similar. Tecatito was once again the creator of one of Mexico’s best chances of the match. After some excellent footwork on the left, he managed to swing a cross into the center, only for Raul Jimenez to head it just wide of the goal.
Jimenez, a second half sub, sparked some life into a Mexican side that was starting to slip. Even though he failed to score, Mexico had its best chance of the match through him.
Bolivia continued their defensive fortitude for much of the second half.
The match wasn’t without controversy. Javier Aquino, another second half sub, fell within the penalty box after some good work bringing the ball into the area, but the ref deemed it wasn’t worthy of a penalty. After reviewing the moment, it looked as though Aquino had fallen without any contact from the Bolivian defender, Morales.
Even though it’s a difficult result to take in for Mexico, El Tri arguably still has a good chance of making it out of the group stages. Miguel Herrera is optimistic that the result doesn’t bode negatively for Mexico.
“We wanted to win. We went out looking for it,” Herrera said after the match. “It's not a bad result because we got a point in the group. Chile and Ecuador are yet to come. We came in to get the result, we tried, but we didn’t put on a good show, we didn’t have success in front of goal and we’re very conscious of that.”
Mexico’s next matches are against tournament host, Chile, and their final match will be against Ecuador. Herrera must reinvigorate his strikers because at the moment they are failing to convince. Don’t miss their next two group stage matches. They face Chile on Monday, June 15 and Ecuador on Friday, June 19.
Relive the highlights of the match: