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More troubles for Mexico
June 17th, 2013 1:20AM

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TAGS:  african nations cup, americans abroad, argentina, arsenal

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[CONFEDERATIONS CUP] Mexico's 2-1 loss to Italy to open play at the Confederations Cup was its first of the year in nine games but doubly troubling for the future of beleaguered coach Jose Manuel de la Torre. It came on the heels of Mexico's third straight scoreless tie at Azteca Stadium in World Cup qualifying and was the logical conclusion to a match in which it was thoroughly dominated. Spain also opened play with a 2-1 win over Uruguay in a match whose final scoreline did not reflect its dominance. For the Italy-Mexico and Spain-Uruguay video highlights ...

Chepo was hoping a change of scenery would invigorate his players, but they looked anything but inspired. Mexico was lucky to be tied at the half when Javier Hernandez's penalty kick canceled out Andrea Pirlo's free kick, but Mario Balotelli outmuscled the Tri defense and won the game for Italy with a goal in the 78th minute.

Chepo's post-game remarks that Mexico controlled the game were clearly out of touch with the reality of the game in which the Azzurri had a 57-43 percent edge in possession, keeping Mexico stuck in its own half for much of the game.

"We had a lot of moves when we were in good positions," he claimed. "I believe we could have had better luck."

The luck of draw is not with Mexico, though. It must face Brazil in its next game and will be eliminated as early as Wednesday in case of a loss and Italy tie or win against Japan.

Italy-Mexico Highlights:


Spain looks set to return to the semifinals, where it lost to the USA, 2-0, four years ago. It led Uruguay on first-half goals from Pedro and Roberto Soldado was in control against Uruguay for much of the game until it tired late in the heat of Recife.

Spain, which held a 16-4 edge in shots and 71-29 percent possession advantage, hasn't exactly impressed in World Cup qualifying, tying both France and Finland at home, but the win, which extended its unbeaten to 23 games, makes it the favorite along with Brazil to reach the final of the only tournament it has not won in the last six years.

"We played an excellent first half," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told Spanish television network Telecinco, "and I think we also played very well in the second period, but we suffered a bit at the end."

Spain-Uruguay Highlights:



GROUP A:
June 15
Brazil 3 Japan 0.
Goals: Neymar 3, Paulinho 48, Jo 90+3.
June 16
Italy 2 Mexico 1.
Goals: Pirlo 27, Balotelli 78; Hernandez pen. 34.
June 19
Brazil vs. Mexico 2:30 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
Italy vs. Japan 5:45 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
June 22
Japan vs. Mexico 2:30 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
Italy vs. Brazil 2:30 p.m. ESPNEWS/WatchESPN
Standings: Brazil, Italy 3 points; Italy, Japan 0.

GROUP B:
June 16
Spain 2 Uruguay 1.

Goals: Pedro 20, Soldado 32; Suarez 88.
June 17
Tahiti vs. Nigeria 2:45 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
June 20
Spain vs. Tahiti 2:45 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
Nigeria vs. Uruguay 5:45 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
June 23
Nigeria vs. Spain 2:30 p.m. ESPN/WatchESPN
Uruguay vs. Tahiti 2:30 p.m. ESPN2/WatchESPN
Standings: Spain 3 points; Uruguay, Tahiti, Nigeria 0.


25 comments
  1. Aresenal Fan
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 9:47 a.m.
    Don't think Mexico overall played bad, but there were some glaring performances. Maza played terrible throughout the game, that last goal he gave up to balloteli was horrible. Torrado has no place in the midfield for mexico, he is slow, and for all his experience committed a silly foul that Pirlo converted for the first goal. I believe the defense will straighten up but can't see them competing with quality teams with those players in the middle of the pitch, Mexico does not have holding and attacking midfielders capabale of carving enough chances for the attacking players.

  1. F B
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
    AF, your read of the game is spot on, in contrast to SA's. Chepo is correct that their luck could have been better. e.g. Guardado's excellent shot from the left side of the box could have been 6 inches lower and beaten Buffon without a doubt. Of course, SA would have the same headline, touting the tragedy of yet another El Tri draw! But what he did not say, is what I know he knows only too well, and what you did say. Mexico is in trouble as they were four years ago. Slightly different reasons this time. First: they have tons of individual talent, but are not playing as a team. Second: Torrado was too old and too slow 2 years ago, and possibly 4 years ago. Not sure why he was the go-to guy. Maza is an excellent defender and the cleanest slide tackler I have ever seen on this side of the Atlantic, but he is having SERIOUS lapses. Chepo needs to sit him down and perhaps remove the captain's armband from his arm. Gotta kickstart him now or replace him. Hiram Mier is a solid youth, with some international experience, who may need to mature really fast to reinforce that back line if Maza keeps moving around back there zombie-like. Italy out passed, and outposessed Mexico, which are typically Mexico's strengths. I saw Mexico trying to play at a rapid tempo in order to beat Italy's 5-man midfield, but they could not get the precision passing that demands. Chepo is also right that they, by luck or not, kept the game very close, but it was not because of great team play. Unless this changes, I do not see Mexico making it to the next round in this one. Not sure how a team that was so successful in 2011 and most of 2012 under this coach can drop it's level so far, but I have a hard time blaming the same coach, other than perhaps for not being able to adjust to and inspire the best out of a different batch of admittedly talented players. YOur thoughts, AF?

  1. Aresenal Fan
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 12:27 p.m.
    FB, I think Chepo's tenure has almost ran his course, players as a group just don't look inspired, and unfortunally the common trend is to always fire the coach to fix that. I believe it is crucial for him to bring Vela back into the fold for the next qualifier, a breath of fresh air is needed.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.
    I believe mexico's struggles are mostly an indication of the big uptick in quality opponents. They aren't facing the Guyanas and El Salvadors this year like '12. Now they are up against bigger, stronger sides, that also possess the same amount of speed and similar skillsets, much like they do when they go to the big boy World Cup! (not the U19s, 20s etc......) Italy knocked them around pretty good.....will Brazil do the same?

  1. Carlos Solorzano
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
    I agree with the statement. No attacking midfielder. I cant remember seeing Torrado or Zavala(more Torrado)attack with the ball. two many silly mistakes on passing. it is disappointing to see. I think Mexico will beat Brasil. Mexico has beatin a better Brasil team than this one. and another thing Chicharito owns David Luiz

  1. Aresenal Fan
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
    Chris, that Italian team will do very good in the world cup, I consider them with a good chance of making semi-finals, and of course mexico is not at that level, regardless of how good the are playing, but honestly neither is any of our other Concacaf teams. But Mexico can play better and more attractive futbol than what they been displaying this year. If Chepo lines up with same team, yes they are going to get punished, they have young talented players like Reyes,Meza,Herrera, Jimenez, and Mier That should probably be playing instead of sitting on the bench. They sourly need some enthusiasm.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
    Arsenal and FB your correct in most things.. This Mexico team looks uninspired. The coach should not have to inspire these guys to play 110% for their country !! That said, it is a mystery as to why Torrado is still wearing a Mexico shirt. He was great in his time but there are certainly several better candidates for his position. Gio proved he should be starting and is better holding forward than Chciharo. Better than Chcicharo vs Italy would have been Di Nigris and Reyna instead of Aquino. Chepo's only fauts is tactics, starting 11 and 1/2 time adjustments. Mexico quit in last 13 minutes of game knowing they had to pressure man to man to get the ball back. Unacceptable.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 3:36 p.m.
    Chris, your hate for Mexico is clear. Mexico recently beat Brazil in the most important win for a Concacaf team, Olympics. Mexico has historically given the world's best teams a very hard time. Italy is one of them. They beat Brazil in Confederations before and not too long ago as well. They almsot beat Germany in Confederations in a 3-2 loss, I think. Now they are up against bigger stronger sides??? Was Mexico hidden from the rest fo the world?? What a stupid comment. Is U23 Olympics Big Boy enough for you?? Mexico needs to move to Conmebol to improve their competition. "No one" in Concacaf has anything to offer them. That will never happen because of $$$.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
    Let's not forget the most impressive player of Olympic gold, Diego Reyes. I like MAZA but what the hell has he been doing lately?? Reyes was phenomenal in Olympics and especially vs Brazil. We defenitely need to trust these young guys in Mexico. USA, look a little harder.

  1. Aresenal Fan
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.
    Luis, it just feels like Chepo has lost the confidence of the players. Salcido, who is one of the seniors in that dressing room stated after the game that mexico played scared, he was not talking about players being scared of the Italians, he was most likely referring to Chepo's strategy and tactics for the second half of the game. Chepo needs to be bold in condfederations cup and that should start by giving the young guys a chance to assert themselves in the national team. I think most mexican fans are upset that he has done nothing to shake things up

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 4:04 p.m.
    Arsenal, grown men scared?? I agree that Chepo's tactics may not be the best but come on, show some attitude. The way they collectively quit at the end except for one player is inexcusable. I dont care if it's Seargent Slaughter coaching them. Show some balls!!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 4:06 p.m.
    The 1st 1/2 was pretty even. Mexico having the better shot on goal. Corona making big saves. They completely lost the 2nd 1/2 and quit the last 13 minutes.

  1. Aresenal Fan
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 4:16 p.m.
    Chepo went defensive in the second half and allowed italy to camp in mexico's half, ballotelli scores in the 79' minute, game over. Hard to switch gears in 11 minutes.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 4:31 p.m.
    Tell me why again, I would need to hate on mexico???? A team who is in self-destruct mode right now.....Oh, that's right, so you can continue your victimhood role.....Line-up the excuses Luis, as usual......The U S beat #1 Spain in CF '09, big deal, and no, the Olympics actually aren't that big of a soccer deal, if you ask most football/soccer fans. Live in the present, or it passes you by......"historically given the world's best teams a very hard time", man, what have you been smoking.....?

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
    I did enjoy your Sgt. Slaughter reference though.......

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 6:32 p.m.
    Chris, you are so hung up on results, correct?? So what meaningful tournament has USA won other than Gold Cup ?? Mexico has beat pl;enty of big name countries like Brazil, Argentina, Italy, etc. in big tournaments. Olympiocs arent a big deal??? Ok. That saids it all. I am glad you liked it. You see how easy it is to be brutally honest even when things arent going right for one of your favorite teams?? You should try it. Be a real soccer fan!!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 6:35 p.m.
    I guess that's why every country calls up their 3 best overage players and their U23's Olympic players are always seen as the next generation and future W.C. team in every country. Not a big deal, though!!! LOL. Only in America do we hear this.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 6:39 p.m.
    Chris here, thinks that USA will win a Men's W.C. before at least making it top 4 at U17, U20 or Olympics. He thinks that it's a coincidence that W.C. kings like Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Germany always do extremely well at all of these younger age group tournaments. Get er done !!

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 8:48 p.m.
    I am guessing (unsure because of your drivel) you're attempting to rididule or set some measure of readers here against me?? That's cool. It's pretty common actually for those who find themselves in a losing position or argument's side, to resort to that. With that being said, have fun with your newspaper article cutouts of those daunting U17, U20 and one Olympic Gold Medal headlines while your pasting them in your mexico scrapbook.

  1. Carlos Mata
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 8:52 p.m.
    wow luis anything.negative about.mexico and you get soo offended ,well the RESULTS are all that.a matters huh ok tell me.how.many wins has mexico had in the hex ? oh yeah.jamaica.wow.what a good.opponent last.in the table costa.rica almost gave them another aztecaso they look like deer stuck.in the.headlights with costa.rica get off your highhorse and admit they are.in a.bad.moment. chicharo" the offsides" Hernandez has not score hes too.much hype from televisa I mean liga mx anyways that.something else so if mexico.misses the world.cup.I.wont.be.that surprised maybe.you can.take chepos place and.put the u20 players in so you.guys can.win maybe .......

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 9:40 p.m.
    Carlos, it takes alot more to offend me. I detect that you are not fluent in English. Fine if you go for USA but you must improve your English if you want to be accepted in this country as an American brother.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 9:45 p.m.
    Chris, dont need anyone to go against you. I actually like you. What have I lost exactly?? I said Mexico got dominated. I just dont agree with you on saying that they cant compete vs those great European teams. Facts are facts. They are the "only" country from Concacaf to consistently compete vs any European team and South American powerhouses. USA had one good showing vs Spain and Brazil in one tournament. Nothimg more. I am also a USA fan but thats a fact. Apples apples homie.

  1. Carlos Mata
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 10:26 p.m.
    wow luis really.not.fluent in english.that.funny I was born.and raised in this great.country.usa kinda funny how you insult first.IGNORANT PEOPLE do that but ok I.should have know better to.reason.with.you.as always now why do.you.assume I.dont.speak.fluent english is it.my.name how steretypical.of you , you.sir are racist (fyi im using.my cell .phone danm spell check.)

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 18, 2013 at 9:14 a.m.
    Carlos, ok you are using cell. Dont get so mad. Didnt mean to offend you. You are a great american then. You know, you dont have to root against the country of your origin just to prove your an American. Yiu can root for 2 countries. Many Europeans in Usa do it, especially the 1st or 2nd generation American Euros. Just saying.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: June 18, 2013 at 11:32 a.m.
    Arsenal, no way hard to adjust after going down a goal. No other option but to get the ball back. Cant do that if you are not anticipating a pass and pressuring the ball. They dont need Chepo telling them that.


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