Bolivia drew Argentina. Venezuela drew Brazil. Peru drew Uruguay. Heavy favorites being unable to grab three points had become the theme in the early going of Copa America and it looked like Mexico would join the list of underdogs denying the favorites points. They have just an under-22 team at the tournament, but they scored in the first half to take a lead and for all of their issues in the attack, they have a strong defense. That defense couldn't hold up to the second half Chile onslaught thought as the Chileans came back to grab a 2-1 win over Mexico to jump to the top of Group C.
The first half consisted mostly of Chile passing the ball around in the midfield, but struggling to break down the Mexico back line. Then, as impotent as Mexico looked in the attack, they got their chance. A free kick in the attacking third was played into the center before being knocked to the back post when Nestor Araujo nodded it back across the goal and into the farside netting to put Mexico on top.
It was a shocking goal in a tournament filled with it, but almost as shocking was how poor Chile's two stars looked. The highly touted Alexis Sanchez looked dynamic when he got the ball, but couldn't turn it into something dangerous. His talent was clear, but the results absent. Then he got played in and was all alone on goal, but hit it wide of the frame. Humberto Suazo wasn't any better, being knocked off the ball multiple times and missing the frame when he too was played in on goal.
A frustrated Chile team went into the second half down a goal and looking like they would join Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay as favorites to have been shocked, but the second half went decidedly in favor of the Chileans. They turned their possession into chances. It didn't help Sanchez or Suazo out any as they continued to struggle to find their footing. Mexico goalkeeper Luis Michel didn't help any either as he made a series of fine saves to keep Mexico in front.
Finally in the 66th minute, Chile broke through. Mexico struggled to head away a Chile free kick and eventually the ball was played across the face of goal. Esteban Paredes came sliding in for it and was able to touch it across the goal line for the equalizer. Mexico looked to the assistant referee for an offside call, but replays confirmed that Paredes was onside.
It took just a handful of minutes before Chile had gone from down a goal to up one. Right after they leveled, Chile earned themselves a corner kick and from it they found the winning goal. The corner kick was hit hard to the top of the six-yard box and Arturo Vidal came running across from the farside of the box to the nearside, perfectly nodding the ball into the far post netting. The crowd with an estimated 8,000 Chileans who made the trip across the border to Argentina exploded and Chile has themselves a lead.
In the waning minutes Mexico had their chances to equalize. A scramble in front of goal led to Claudio Bravo storming off his line to knock the ball away from danger and the last play of the match was a dangerous Mexico free kick, but Chile cleared it away. The referee blew his whistle for fulltime and Chile had avoided the upset with a 2-1 win.
With the win, Chile moves to the top fo Group C with three points, while Mexico are at bottom. Uruguay and Peru sit in the middle with a point apiece. Chile will play their next Copa America match against Uruguay on July 8 in Mendoza, while Mexico will take on Peru, also in Mendoza on July 8.
For more on Mexico vs. Chile, the Mexican national team, and Mexican football in general, visit SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.