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
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