Copa America Rewind - Day 11
June 13, 2016
Biggest Winner - Mexico
There was only one game that mattered today and Mexico got the result it needed to win the group. The Mexicans didn’t look at their best against Venezuela and their “reward” for finishing first is a date with Chile in the quarterfinals, but Mexico does avoid Argentina, arguably the best team in the tournament. The question now is: does Juan Carlos Osorio’s decision to rest key players lead to an energized Mexico or a disorganized Mexico from lack of cohesion?
Daily MVP - Jesus Manuel Corona
The man they call “Tecatito” stole the show when it mattered most, dancing through FIVE Venezuela defenders to level the game for Mexico with just 10 minutes remaining. And that came after he almost scored minutes earlier on a similar slalom through the right side of Venezuela’s defense. It’ll be interesting to see if he can replicate his success against a Chilean right flank responsible for both goals conceded against Argentina.
Daily Goat - Edinson Cavani
Pour one out for Edinson Cavani. This was supposed to be his tournament to shine with Luis Suarez out for the group stage. Instead, it’s been one missed chance after another for the PSG man as his team crashed out after just two games. It was painful to watch a desperate Cavani try so hard to score in Uruguay’s meaningless, final game against Jamaica. There were only more missed chances to be found. Nightmare Copa officially complete.
Biggest Surprise - Venezuela
It seems unfair to call Venezuela a “surprise” at this point. But who would’ve predicted the 77th-ranked team in the world’ve finsihed second only because of goal differential in group C? Venezuela’s good performance against Mexico, after being good enough to beat Jamaica and Uruguay last week, proves they’re legit. Next up? World No. 1 and tournament favorite Argentina. Hey, America loves an underdog. It be fitting to see a true Cinderella run at the first Copa America held on U.S. soil.
Best/Worst Moment - Beer Rains down
Look, you can’t throw things at players. A huge Mexican crowd at NRG Stadium once against made it a de-facto home game for Mexico. The phenomenal atmosphere made an already great game even better. But when Jose Manuel Velazquez ran to the corner to flag to celebrate his goal, beer cups and cans rained down on him and his teammates. It becomes a safety issue at that point. Full beer cans can do real damage when they hit someone.
Goal of the Day - Jose Manuel Velazquez
This could easily have gone to Tecatito, but he got love in the “Daily MVP” section so we’ll give it to Velazquez. Not that his goal wasn’t deserving. The Venezuelan defender showed great instincts to drift free in the box before slamming home a stunning scissor volley.
Final Whistle - Final Round Excitement
Playing the final round of group games staggered instead of simultaneous is dumb. But if we have to deal with it, at least it hasn’t produced any lame ducks. We got drama in the final game of Group A and a winner-take-all game in group B in additiion to tonight’s Venezuela - Mexico thriller. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s Group D finale is just a crazy.