On Sunday night the 5th of June, Mexico and Uruguay will kick-off their Copa América Centenario campaign. Both teams are regarded as highly capable of winning this honorary Copa edition and seem to have relatively easy company with Venezuela and Jamaica as nations to complete their group. However, as history has proven, there are no easy games in the Copa América.
‘Who will stop the unstoppable?’
You rarely see a team on such a hot streak as Mexico are at the moment. El Tri are topping their World Cup qualifying table and have yet to taste defeat in nearly a year. To make things even more impressive, Mexico haven’t conceded a single goal in 8 consecutive outings. Next to their solidness at the back, they have a striker who’s currently hitting the back of the net as never before in Javier Hernández. Chicharito even managed to better his own personal best this season by scoring 26 times for Bayer Leverkusen.
Another factor that will play in Mexico’s favour are the staggering amounts of supporters that will support El Tri through the whole of USA. It will even make the two-time Copa América runner-ups feel like a home nation, according to many analysts.
While Mexico will enjoy their ‘home nation’ status, Uruguay couldn’t care less as they are well known for dismantling this so-called home advantage. The most famous example of all being the World Cup 1950 final where they beat Brazil in their own backyard.
A glorious campaign like the one in 1950, seems to be well on the cards for Oscar Tabárez’ men as they are in fine form. Just like Mexico, La Celeste top their World Cup qualifying group. Which is surprising considering they had to cope without key players Diego Godín and Luis Suárez for greater parts of the qualifiers. Unfortunately for Uruguay, Suárez will miss a part of the Copa as well. El Pistolero is currently suffering from a thigh injury and is expected to make his first appearance in the third group game vs. Jamaica (13th of June).
Uruguay and Mexico have faced each other nineteen times whereof eight meetings were competitive. The first match of those eight was played in 1952 as the sky blue of Uruguay met Mexico in the Panamerican Championship – a tournament held every four years between 1952 and 1960 contested by countries from South America and North America. It turned out to be Uruguay’s first win over Mexico in a total of three. The other five competitive games ended up in two Mexico wins and three draws.
The overall record between both nations might be well balanced, recent results have certainly gone Uruguay’s way. In 2010, the two nations met in the group stages of the World Cup in South Africa. Thanks to a Luis Suárez goal, Uruguay managed to win 1-0. The same result gave Uruguay the edge over Mexico in the Copa América of 2011. Now, for already five years, the sides haven’t met so it will be interesting to find out how things stand at the moment.
Both teams are expected to get out of their group, and winning the opening game could make that process become a lot easier. But even if either of the countries suffer defeat in their first game, it wouldn’t upset them too much as they still have two games remaining to secure a ticket for the knock-out stages.
- Local time: 8:00 PM
- Uruguayan Time: 9:00 PM
- CEST (Central European Summer Time): 2:00 AM