Group C, Round 2: Uruguay out, Venezuela, Mexico advance

Osorio Mexico

by DAVE MARTINEZ

It took all of two matches to eliminate group favorites Uruguay from the Copa America Centenario.

A Mexico victory and a stunning loss to Venezuela leaves Los Celestes on the outside looking in.

In many ways, it is a fitting end to what has been a frustrating tournament for Uruguay. Just two days ago, Uruguay’s FA President Wilmar Valdez said it was a “mistake” to hold the tournament on U.S. soil, claiming the entire event was meant to uplift Mexico’s status in the region. Luis Suarez, meanwhile, through a fit mid-match after being passed over as a late-game sub by head coach Oscar Tabarez.

Now, Uruguay get to go back home and ponder what went wrong.

As for Mexico, their strong run of play continues, cementing their place as a championship contender in this tournament.

URUGUAY, OUT

With their loss to South American minnow Venezuela and Mexico’s win over Jamaica, group favorite Uruguay is now out of the Copa America Centenario.

The man to stamp their ticket back home? Salomon Rondon.

Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera was caught far out of position by Egidio Arevalo Rios, who took the ball just past the halfway line and launched a screamer from 45 yards out, forcing Muslera to stretch for the save. Muslera got just enough on the chance to clang it off the cross bar, but Rondon was there to clean up the rebound, putting the Vinotinto up 1-0 in the 36′ minute.

Despite a heavy possession advantage and a roster of international stars, Uruguay could not break through in the second stanza. In fact, the best chance of the half came for Venezuela with Muslera denying Adalberto Penaranda in a one-on-one scenario.

As if the drama on the field wasn’t enough, injured striker Luis Suarez showed his frustration as well. Shortly after Uruguay’s third substitution of the match, the Barcelona striker punched the glass enclosure on the players bench and threw his cleats off in disgust.

Clearly, someone did not tell Suarez his services were not needed.

Venezuela’s win puts them in a head-on collision with likely Group D winner, Argentina, in the knockout rounds.

MEXICO SMOTHERS JAMAICA

Credit Jamaica: they made a match out of this encounter when many thought they would be an easy opponent.

Nevertheless, they fell under the weight of a relentless Mexico attack, falling to El Tri 2-0 at the Rose Bowl.

The hero of the match was Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who headed home a critical goal in the 18′ minute to send the 83,263 fans in attendance into a frenzy. Oribe Peralta scored the second in the 81′, finally breaking through on a disciplined — and at times lucky — Jamaican defense.

Jamaica had several chances on the night, but fell short of converting. Clayton Donaldson had a number of misfired shots on the evening and Guillermo Ochoa had just as many strong saves to counter a sneaky Jamaican attack. A clear penalty shout was denied as well in the second half, robbing the Reggae Boyz of a possible tying goal.

Nevertheless, El Tri poured on the pressure and showed their class, putting them in strong position to advance as the top team in Group C.

NEXT UP …

  • June 13: Mexico vs. Venezuela (8 pm ET; FS1, Univision, UDN)
  • June 13: Jamaica vs. Uruguay (10 pm ET; FS1, UniMás, UDN)

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