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Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

CONCACAF Gold Cup: Can Honduras or Panama prevent another USA-Mexico final?

The semi finals of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup take place in a double-header at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on Wednesday night with Honduras and Panama standing in the way of a fourth successive United States versus Mexico final. Panama were the last team to break the domination of the big two in 2005, when they made the final but lost out to the United States on penalties at the Giants Stadium. The USA retained their title two years later with a 2-1 final win over Mexico at Soldier Field in Chicago, but the Mexicans had their revenge in 2009 with a thumping 5-0 win over their neighbours at the Giants Stadium and they beat the hosts again in 2011, winning 4-2 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

This time around, the United States are up against Honduras in the first of the two semi finals. The United States have been the form team of the tournament so far and had no trouble brushing aside El Salvador 5-1 in their quarter final whereas Honduras came through a much tighter affair with a 1-0 win against Costa Rica last night. Mexico, who beat Trinidad and Tobago by a single goal in their quarter final, must face Panama, who came from a goal behind to crush Cuba 6-1 at the same stage.

Honduras won their Gold Cup group with two wins and a defeat after they had already sewn up top spot but they lost to the Americans in a World Cup Qualifier in Utah last month with Jozy Altidore scoring the only goal of the game in the second half and the United States are now on a nine game winning streak, so they will be favourites to progress to the final after winning all three of their group games and having scored sixteen goals in their four Gold Cup games so far. Mexico and Panama met in their opening Group A match and Panama ran out 2-1 winners going on to win the group a point ahead of the Mexicans in second place. Mexico have travelled to the tournament with an experimental, all home-based, squad of players, having also competed in the Confederations Cup this summer and opting to send a second string selection to the Gold Cup. Therefore, they could be ripe for another upset against the in-form Panamanians, who are spearheaded by twenty four year old Zamora striker Gabriel Torres, joint top scorer in the tournament with five goals from his three games.

Confederations Cup: Mexico 2-1 Japan

Mexico 2 (Hernandez 54, 66)
Japan 1
(Okazaki 86)
Mineirão, Belo Horizonte. Temp. 26°C, wind 7 mph, scattered clouds. Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

TEAMS

Mexico: Ochoa, Torres Nilo, Moreno, Mier, Reyes, Guardado (Salcido 71), Torrado, Zavala, dos Santos (Barrera 78), Hernandez, Jimenez (Aquino 90).
Japan: Kawashima, Kurihara, Konno, Nagatomo (Nakamura 77), Sakai H (Uchida 58), Endo, Hosogai, Okazaki, Honda, Maeda (Yoshida 65), Kagawa.

Mexico prevailed in the battle for third place in Group A at the 2013 Confederations Cup with a hard fought 2-1 win over Japan, who end up pointless at the bottom of the group despite having played some attractive attacking football at the tournament. Things wouldn’t have had to have gone very differently for the Japanese to have reached the semi finals alongside Brazil as they dominated periods of the games against both Italy and Mexico and were unlucky to lose out by the odd goal on both occasions. However, their finishing and lack of a top class centre forward let them down on this occasion, where they came up against a Mexico side containing the prolific Javier Hernandez, who notched up his thirty fourth and thirty fifth goals in fifty three appearances for his country.

The closest either team came to breaking the deadlock before the interval was a disallowed goal from Japan in the ninth minute when Okazaki deflected an Endo shot into the corner from near the penalty spot, but was in an offside position, and a bullet header from Andres Guardado in the fortieth minute that beat Kawashima but struck the post. Hernandez opened the scoring eight minutes into the second half when he timed his run perfectly to ghost in at the near post and get his head on the end of a cross from Guardado on the left wing. His close range header flew into the net before Kawashima had time to react and Mexico finally had their first goal in open play of the tournament.

The man they call Chicharito repeated the trick twelve minutes later to score an almost identical header from practically the same spot, but this time he lost his marker at the far post from a dos Santos corner on the right to make it 2-0 to Mexico, proving yet against what an accomplished goal poacher he is. His movement off the ball makes him almost impossible to mark and his finishing rarely lets him down. It’s just a shame for Mexico they they currently rely so heavily on him for goals. Japan pushed hard to get back into the game in the last quarter of the match but didn’t get a breakthrough until the last five minutes when Shinji Okazaki got his second of the tournament. Their challenge should have been killed off in injury time when Mexico got a penalty but this time Hernandez wasn’t so clinical and Kawashima parried his spot kick. The Mexican striker was first to the rebound but he blasted his shot against the bar from point blank range. Hernandez was denied his hat-trick, but Mexico hung on for the win.

Related Links:
Mexican Football
Japanese Football
Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Brazil 2-0 Mexico

Brazil 2 (Neymar 9, Jo 90+3)
Mexico 0
Castelão, Fortaleza. Temp. 30°C, wind 18 mph, passing clouds. Referee: Howard Webb (England)

TEAMS

Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Oscar (Hernanes 62), Fred (Jo 82), Hulk (Lucas Moura 78), Neymar.
Mexico: Corona, Rodriguez, Torres Nilo (Barrera 70), Moreno, Flores (Herrera 58), Mier, Guardado, Torrado (Jimenez 88), Salcido, dos Santos, Hernandez.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil made it two wins from two in Confederations Cup Group A with a 2-0 win against Mexico, who once again failed to find a finishing touch to some accomplished approach play. Neymar was the star of the show and, ultimately, the difference between the two teams scoring one goal and creating the other.

Brazil started strongly with the backing of a passionate home crowd bedecked almost uniformly in yellow. They thought they had taken the lead as early as the fifth minute when Oscar had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside. However, they kept the Mexicans under pressure and did get the breakthrough a few minutes later when Dani Alves broke forward down the right and sent in a delicious cross that was flicked clear by a defender only to drop to Neymar on the edge of the box. The young forward expertly hit a powerful left-foot volley past Corona in the Mexican goal to make it 1-0.

Mexico’s defence continued to be stretched by Brazil’s speed on the break and it was almost 2-0 just before the quarter hour mark when Dani Alves again came forward and hit an inch perfect chip towards the far top corner but Corona managed to scramble back and finger tip it over the bar. That seemed to be the wake-up call for Jose Manuel de la Torre’s team as they gradually managed to get a grip on the game and enjoyed a few periods of possession, even creating some promising situations, without getting any clear cut chances. The closest they came was with a dos Santos free kick that flew just over the bar in first half stoppage time.

The second half began with another Brazilian ‘goal’ ruled out for offside but proceeded to be much tighter and less eventful than the first period. There were one or two half chances at both ends and Neymar went close again with a rasping shot from the left towards the near post but by and large Mexico competed on an even footing with their opponents and threatened at times to get back on level terms. In the end it was another piece of magic from Neymar that wrapped up the win for Brazil. He produced a fine dribble into the box, squeezing through an almost invisible gap between defenders before picking out substitute Jo arriving in the six yard box to lay on a simple tap in to make it 2-0 in the last minute of injury time.

Brazil now have six points from a possible six ahead of their final group game against Italy. Mexico have now suffered successive defeats in their opening two games and only have a slim chance of qualifying for the semi finals, They face Japan in their final group game, with the Japanese first taking on Italy in the other Group B game later on tonight.

Related Links:
Football in Brazil
Football in Mexico
Confederations Cup 2013

Confederations Cup: Italy 2-1 Mexico

Italy 2 (Pirlo 27, Balotelli 78)
Mexico 1
(Hernandez pen 34)
Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, 25°C, clear and calm. Referee: Enrique Osses (Chile)

TEAMS

Mexico: Corona, Rodriguez, Moreno, Flores, Aquino (Mier 53), Guardado, Torrado, Salcido, Zavala (Jimenez 86), dos Santos, Hernandez.
Italy: Buffon, Barzagli, Chiellini, Abate, De Sciglio, De Rossi, Pirlo, Montolivo, Marchisio (Cerci 68), Giaccherini (Aquilani 88), Balotelli (Gilardino 86).

Italy got their 2013 Confederations Cup campaign off to a winning start at the Maracana, beating Mexico by two goals to one with Pirlo and Balotelli on the scoresheet and Javier Hernandez replying for the Mexicans. It was an entertaining game with plenty of chances at both ends as Mexico ended their recent hoodoo in front of goal but saw an end to their run of clean sheets.

Italy took the lead courtesy of a majestic free kick from veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo in the twenty seventh minute on the night of his one hundredth cap for his country. The strike was up there with some of the very best from his illustrious career and he left Mexican goalkeeper Corona with no chance as he curled it over the wall and in to the top left hand corner of the goal. Italy‘s lead didn’t last for long, however, as Barzagli clumsily gave away a penalty in the thirty fourth minute when he dallied in possession and allowed dos Santos to steal the ball before tripping the Mexican striker in the box. Barzagli was fortunate not to receive a red card from the Chilean referee. Javier Hernandez sent Gianluigi Buffon the wrong way from the penalty spot to make it 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second forty five minutes and the officiating continued to be lenient as either side could have been reduced to ten men for some mistimed tackling. Italy always seemed the most likely to make the breakthrough and the golden chance finally fell to Mario Balotelli in the seventy eighth minute from a flick on by Giaccherini. The Milan forward was first to the ball amidst a cluster of defenders and smashed his finish past Corona to make it 2-1 to the Italians and earn three points that make them joint leaders with Brazil after the first round of matches in Group A.

 

Confederations Cup 2013: Team by Team Preview

The 2013 Confederations Cup kicks off in Brasilia on Saturday with a strong line up of teams competing in the World Cup dress rehearsal a year before the real thing takes place next summer. Most of them will expect to return for the 2014 World Cup – only Tahiti have been eliminated so far from the qualification process – so it’s a good chance for them to hone their preparations and get some valuable experience of the Brazilian conditions. Here’s our guide to the teams and how they will fare.


Team: Brazil
Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari
Qualified as: Hosts

Last 5 results: Group A Fixtures:
Brazil 1-1 Russia (London, 25-03-2013, FR)
Bolivia 0-4 Brazil (Santa Cruz, 06-04-2013, FR)
Brazil 2-2 Chile (Belo Horizonte, 25-04-2013, FR)
Brazil 2-2 England (Rio de Janeiro, 02-06-2013, FR)
Brazil 3-0 France (Porto Alegre, 09-06-2013, FR)
Japan (Brasília, 15-06-2013)
Mexico (Fortaleza, 19-06-2013)
Italy (Salvador, 22-06-2013)

Star Player: Neymar. The Santos striker is the most exciting attacking talent in Brazilian football at the moment, but he still has a lot to prove, especially at international level. His goals record of 20 in 34 games for Brazil is impressive but, having made his debut just after the last World Cup, most of his national team experience has come in friendly matches. He did feature in the 2011 Copa America and 2012 Olympics, scoring in both tournaments, but wasn’t able to help his team to success on either occasion. It’s easy to forget that he’s still only 21 as he seems to have been in the headlines for years since he shot to prominence at a young age and led Santos to their Copa Libertadores triumph in 2011 and rarely a week has gone by in the past two years without rumours linking him with a big money move to Europe. New he’s finally heading to Barcelona to test himself in La Liga and he’ll want to leave his homeland on a high by impressing at the Confederations Cup before he starts his new adventure.

One to Watch: Oscar. The Chelsea midfielder has been playing an increasingly prominent role in the Brazil national team of late and now has seventeen caps and six goals to his name. Also only 21, he is coming into the tournament off the back of a successful first season in Europe where he excelled in the English Premier league and won the Europa league. His fleet footwork and incisive passing, not to mention his lethal shooting ability, make him an important supplier and scorer of goals and a successful Confedereations Cup campaign will go al long way towards staking his claim for a first team spot come next summer. Brazil could be building their team around him for years to come.

Prediction: We expect Brazil to rise to the occasion and put recent patchy form behind them by reaching the final of this event on their home soil. They have selected a strong and talented squad and will be treating the competition very seriously as it represents their only chance of competitive action in the build up to the World Cup finals. Home advantage should help them see off Japan and Mexico in their opening games and we expect them to win their group and reach the final, possibly against Spain, which would be a close encounter but they may just edge it. Read the rest of this entry »

US go clear as Mexico’s scoring woes continue

The United States moved two points clear at the top of the CONCACAF final World Cup 2014 qualifying group as the competition reached its half way point last night. A 2-0 win for the USA against Panama lifted them clear of both Costa Rica and Mexico, who drew 0-0, whilst Honduras beat Jamaica to stay within three points of top spot.

The United States took on Panama at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, home of Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders, and Jurgen Klinsmann’s team went ahead in the thirty sixth minute when left-back Fabian Johnson of Hoffenheim sent in a low cross for AZ Alkmaar’s Jozy Altidore to convert at the far post. It stayed that way until the fifty third minute when Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson latched on to a ball from Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron and beat Jaime Penedo in the Panama goal to delight his hometown fans with the second goal of the night. The USA hit the woodwork a couple of times as they threatened to build on their lead later in the second half but two nil remained the scoreline despite some late pressure from Panama.

At the Estadio Azteca in the Mexican capital, Mexico played their third qualifier of the week but again struggled to find the net as their run of bad form in front of goal went from worrying to critical. This time Costa Rica were the opponents but for all the attacking talents of Hernandez, De Nigris, Guardado, Barrera and co Keilor Navas’ goal stood firm and Mexico were shut out for the second time in four days. They have now scored only three goals in their six group matches and only one in their last four. At least they’re doing something right at the other end where they have conceded only two goals and kept five clean sheets in their six matches but they desperately need some new ideas going forward in the final third as their regional rivals seem to have well and truly worked out how to stifle their threat and the fans are losing patience with the unproductive football. Club America youngster Raul Jimenez and Giovani dos Santos were both thrown on up front in the second half, but to no avail.

Honduras beat Jamaica 2-0 at the Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa in the third match of the night with an early goal from Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia Ramirez setting them on their way. Jamaica were reduced to ten men in the seventy sixth minute when Reading’s Adrian Mariappa was dismissed and Honduras capitalised on their numerical advantage two minutes from time when Olimpia’s Roger Fabrizio Rojas Lazo grabbed the second goal of the night to seal the victory.

The United States, with ten points from their five games, are now two points ahead of Costa Rica and Mexico, with the Mexicans at the disadvantage of having played a game more. The top three teams go through automatically to next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, and the fourth placed team will face a play off against New Zealand. Honduras currently occupy fourth spot, a point clear of Panama, with winless Jamaica a distant sixth. The group table now stands as follows:

Team P W D L F A P
United States 5 3 1 1 6 3 10
Costa Rica 5 2 2 1 5 3 8
Mexico 6 1 5 0 3 2 8
Honduras 5 2 1 2 6 6 7
Panama 5 1 3 1 5 5 6
Jamaica 6 0 2 4 2 8 2

Mexico pick up first win in World Cup Qualifying Group

Mexico moved to the top of the CONCACAF World Cup 2014 final qualifying group with a 1-0 win over Jamaica at Independence Park in Kingston last night. The Mexicans, who were playing the first of three World Cup qualification matches in a week that will go a long way towards determining their presence in Brazil next summer, were held at 0-0 until the 48th minute when Aldo de Nigris headed in Salcido’s cross and they managed to preserve their clean sheet until the final whistle for a valuable three points. Their first win in the six team group came in their fourth match following three lacklustre draws and moves them from fifth to first with six points. However, the lack of goals will still be a concern for manager Jose Manuel de la Torre. De Nigris’ strike was only their third goal in the group, meaning that they are still scoring at less than a goal per game, but at least the defence is proving to be watertight with seven clean sheets from their last eight qualifiers.

Mexico‘s next two qualifiers are away in Panama and at home to Costa Rica before they fly to Brazil for the Confederations Cup, but the rest of their group rivals are also in action over the coming fortnight so there’s likely to be a further shake up of the table by the middle of June.

The group table is now as follows:

Team P W D L F A P
Mexico 4 1 3 0 3 2 6
Panama 3 1 2 0 5 3 5
Costa Rica 3 1 1 1 4 3 4
United States 3 1 1 1 2 2 4
Honduras 3 1 1 1 4 5 4
Jamaica 4 0 2 2 1 4 2

Mexico Squad for 2013 Confederations Cup

Mexico manager José Manuel de la Torre named his 23 man squad for the 2013 Confederations Cup last month ahead of their programme of four warm up matches that began with a 2-2 draw against Nigeria in Houston on Friday night. Mexico took the lead after twenty minutes in that match when Pablo Barrera set up Javier Hernandez, but Barrera was sent off seven minutes later and the Nigerians turned the score around with a penalty and then an own goal from Gerardo Torrado before half time. Ten man Mexico fought back valiantly in the second half and salavged a draw with Hernandez’ second of the game.

Next on Mexico‘s itinerary are three World Cup qualifying matches starting with a trip to Kingston to play Jamaica (04-06-2013), followed by a fixture against Panama in Panama City (07-06-2013) and a final test for the team at home in Mexico City against Costa Rica (11-06-2013). They then start their Confederations Cup campaign against Italy in Rio de Janeiro (16-06-2013) followed by Group A matches against the hosts Brazil in Fortaleza (19-06-2013) and finally against Japan in Belo Horizonte (22-06-2013).

The Mexico squad is comprised of players from twelve different clubs with 17 players based in Mexico and just six at overseas clubs. The most represented club teams are Club America, Cruz Azul and Monterrey with four players each. The most capped player in the squad is Gerardo Torrado with 139 caps and the top scorer is Javier Hernandez with 32 goals.

The Mexico Confederations Cup 2013 squad in full is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), José de Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)

Defenders: Francisco Javier Rodríguez (América), Carlos Salcido (UANL), Diego Reyes (América), Severo Meza (Monterrey), Héctor Moreno (Espanyol), Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Gerardo Flores (Cruz Azul)

Midfielders: Jesús Molina (América), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul), Ángel Reyna (Pachuca), Javier Aquino (Villarreal), Héctor Herrera (Pachuca), Jesús Zavala (Monterrey), Andrés Guardado (Valencia)

Forwards: Javier Hernández (Manchester United), Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), Giovani dos Santos (Mallorca), Raúl Jiménez (América)

Copa Libertadores Quarter Finals First Legs

The first legs of the quarter final fixtures in the Copa Libertadores were completed last night and three of the ties remain very delicately poised ahead of the return matches next week.

In the all Argentinian clash, Boca Juniors were held to a goalless draw in their Bombonera stadium by Newell’s Old Boys and they will be without Guillermo Burdisso for the trip to Rosario as he received his marching orders in the third minute of injury time at the end of the second half. Newell’s Old Boys will now be favourites to progress to the semi finals as they are currently flying high at the top of the Primera Division whereas Boca are having a terrible domestic season and languish down in 18th place. However, Newell’s Old Boys will have to end their current five game winless run against Boca.

Meanwhile in northern Mexico, Xolos de Tijuana continued their good run in the competition by taking a 2-0 lead against strongly fancied Atletico Mineiro of Brazil. Striker Dubier Riascos gave the Mexicans a half time lead and Fidel Francisco Martínez Tenorio doubled their advantage early in the second half to rattle the Brazilians. However, they struck back through Diego Tardelli and salvaged a last minute equaliser from substitute Luan to put themselves in a strong position with two away goals. Nevertheless, they will be aware that Tijuana went away to Palmeiras in the last round having drawn the home leg and won 2-1 in Sao Paolo.

The other tie that rests on a knife edge is the clash between Brazilian champions Fluminense and Olimpia of Paraguay, which finished 0-0 on Wednesday night in Rio. Olimpia will be buoyed by that result and the chance to take on Abel Braga’s team on equal terms back in Asuncion next week, but they will be without midfielder Eduardo Lorenzo Aranda, who was sent off late on.

The first quarter final was a much more one sided affair and looks to be done and dusted as Santa Fe of Bogota recorded a 3-1 away win against Real Garcilaso at their Andean stronghold in Cusco. Two goals in three first half minutes from Francisco Meza and Wilder Medina gave the Colombians a dream start and Jefferson Cuero made it three early in the second half before Alfredo Ramua struck back to salvage some pride for the Peruvians, who had missed a golden opportunity to pull a goal back in the first half when Paraguayan midfielder Fabio Ramon Ramos missed a penalty. Real Garcilaso now face an uphill struggle in Bogota next week.

World Cup 2010 Warm Up: Italy 1-2 Mexico

Tweo teams with contrasting World Cup preparation plans met in a warm up friendly in Brussels. Italy, playing their first such game, faced Mexico at the end of their eight match odyssey of friendly fixtures. Perhaps then, it was the disparity in their states of readiness that produced a semi-surprising Mexican victory. This was a much needed morale boosting win against a top team for the Mexicans, following defeats against England and the Netherlands and it leaves them looking in good shape ahead of the finals and their opening game against hosts South Africa.

Arsenal’s Carlos Vela opened the scoring in the seventeenth minute and the scoreline remained unchanged until late on when Alberto Medina doubled the advantage for Mexico. The Italians salvaged some pride in the last minute when Bari centre-back Leonardo Bonucci scored his first ever international goal in only his second appearance for his country.

Italy 1-2 Mexico (03/06/2010)

Strating Line-ups:

Italy:
Buffon
Cannavaro
Bonucci
Criscito
Zambrotta
De Rossi
Pirlo
Gilardino
Marchisio
Di Natale
Iaquinta

Substitutions:
45 Pepe for Di Natale
63 Maggio for Zambrotta
63 Pazzini for Gilardino
75 Quagliarella for De Rossi
82 Palombo for Pirlo
88 Bocchetti for Cannavaro

Mexico:
Perez
Rodríguez
Osorio
Salcido
Aguilar
Marquez
Torrado
Juarez
Vela
Hernandez
Dos Santos

Substitutions:
45 Barrera for Marquez
52 Medina for Dos Santos
69 Moreno for Rodríguez
71 Blanco for Hernandez
83 Castro for Vela
87 Guardado for Juarez

Goals:
Vela (17)
Medina (84)
Bonucci (89)

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