Mexico vs Ecuador | Friday 19 June | Estadio El Teniente, Rancagua | 23:00
Mexico and Ecuador do battle on Friday night for a spot in the quarter-finals of the 2015 Copa America. Mexico occupy third spot in Group A after two draws, while Ecuador lie rock bottom of the pile after two defeats. A win here for the North Americans will see them claim a spot in the last eight, but a victory for their opponents will only move them into third spot and they will then have to hope to be one of two best third-place finishers that qualify for the knockout stages.
To Win (90mins)
Mexico improved substantially in their second group match to draw 3-3 with hosts Chile after taking the lead twice. Veteran striker Matias Vuoso was in fine form bagging a brace, with Atletico Madrid frontman Raul Jimenez also getting in on the action. The home side did have more of the ball and also had two goals disallowed, but it was a pulsating and entertaining end-to-end affair. Mexico were without veteran defender Rafael Marquez, who suffered an injury in the scoreless draw against Bolivia. El Tri were poor in their opener, managing just two shots on target against South America’s lowest ranked team. Their defence was also not up to scratch forcing a few dangerous moments for their goalkeeper. With Chile and Bolivia topping the group with four points apiece, Mexico can’t afford to draw as there are only two spots available for the best third-place finishers. Mexico left wing-back Adrian Aldrete out of Friday's crunch match, but Mexico were dealt some good news as captain Marquez is likely to return to the starting line-up. Marquez is a legend for his nation, having plied his trade with the likes of Barcelona, Monaco and now Verona in Italy. He has tremendous ability to read the game, while his aggression and leadership make him an indispensable part of the team.
VERDICT: Ecuador 18/10
Ecuador are yet to get off the mark in terms of points, however, they have shown their quality during both matches. They had Chile on the back foot when trying to find an equaliser, even rattling the post and conceded the second goal late on. They were shocked against a superb attacking effort from Bolivia in the first half of their second match, but showed their steel to dominate the rest of the match and create good chances. Mexico have been inconsistent with this ‘B’ team in the build-up to the tournament and during the showpiece. Ecuador have to come good at least once and are tipped for the win.