clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

3 things we learned from Mexico's 3-1 win over Uruguay in Copa America

El Tri couldn't play up a man, but they sure did dominate Uruguay when the teams were even.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

They made it difficult on themselves, but Mexico have sent their fans home happy with a 3-1 victory over Uruguay in their Copa America opener.

El Tri were on the front foot from the very beginning and only needed four minutes to take the lead. Alvaro Pereira of Uruguay has been credited with an own goal, but that's harsh on him and unfortunate for Mexico, who deserve some recognition. Andres Guardado set up the goal with a brilliant cross from the left wing, and if Pereira hadn't turned the ball into the back of the net, the surging Hector Herrera certainly would have.

Edinson Cavani had Uruguay's biggest chance of the night in the 30th minute when he was played in clear on goal, but Alfredo Talavera came up with a brilliant save on his shot from 12 yards.

Uruguay's chances of getting back into the game got much slimmer in the 45th minute when Uruguay midfielder Matías Vecino was deservedly shown a second yellow card for a dangerous tackle.

But despite going down a man, Uruguay were the better team at the start of the second half. They put El Tri under constant pressure, and in the 72nd minute, they drew level in two different ways. First, Guardado was shown a red card, making the match 10 vs. 10. Then La Celeste took immediate advantage with Diego Godin heading in the ensuing set piece taken by Carlos Sánchez.

That sparked some sense of urgency in Mexico, who were on the front foot from then on and eventually found their winner in the 86th minute. A short corner routine was eventually worked to 37-year-old captain Rafa Marquez, who hit a scorcher into the roof of the net from 12 yards out to capture all three points for El Tri.

Robbed of a goal earlier in the game, Herrera added one for good measure in stoppage time, getting on the scoresheet by finishing off a chance created by substitutes Raul Jimenez and Hirving Lozano.

Mexico: Talavera, Araújo, Moreno, Reyes, Layun, Marquez, Guardado (red 72'), Herrera, Je. Corona (Dueñas 61'), Aquino (Lozano 55'), Hernandez (Jimenez 83')

Goals: Pereira (OG 4'), Marquez (86'), Herrera (90')

Uruguay: Muslera, A. Pereira, Godin, Gimenez, M. Pereira, Lodeiro (González 46'), Arévalo (Ramirez 84'), Vecino (red 45'), Sánchez, Cavani, Rolan (Hernandez 60')

Goals: Godin (73')

El Tri are better even than with an advantage

Inexplicably, Mexico completely dominated Uruguay throughout the first half, struggled to start the second, then picked it up again when they lost a man. For the roughly 65 minutes in which the teams had the same number of players, Mexico were superior. In the 25 minutes that Mexico were up a man, Uruguay were by far the better team. You could probably watch this game 10 times and not come up with a decent explanation.

Diego Godin is incredible

In a disappointing performance overall for Uruguay, one player in particular shined, and it was exactly who you'd expect. Atlético Madrid star center back Diego Godin was just as good for his country as he usually is for club. He was perfect in defense, blocked shots, scored a goal and even carried the ball into midfield on occasion. Despite the fact that his team conceded three goals, he was basically flawless.

Mexico is on track to avoid Argentina

Beating Uruguay is nice, but something bigger was at stake here -- quarterfinal matchups. By winning this game, Mexico are in position to win the group and likely avoid playing Argentina in the quarterfinals. They'll be on the opposite side of the bracket if Argentina wins their group, too, meaning they wouldn't have to deal with Lionel Messi and company until the final.

Then again, Chile could beat La Albiceleste on Monday and shake everything up.

SIGN UP FOR OUR SOCCER NEWSLETTER

Get all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans in your inbox every day.