Copa America: Day 8

Is it a girl or is it Rafael Marquez? Who knows… 

Mexico V Chile (KO. 11.35pm)

Group B is all but finished now with Mexico, Chile and Brazil likely to qulaify. Tonight’s games will tell who finishes in which places and who will have to sweat untill tomorrow nights games finish to see if they are the best third place finisher. Tonight’s first fixture is Mexico against Chile. Mexico are guaranteed their quarter final spot after victories over both Brazil and Ecuador and are set to rest many first choice players for the game. Castillo, who is turning out to be a rather prolific goalscorer for the Mexicans, is skating on thin ice as he is a yellow card away from missing the quarter finals so he is likely to be kept off the ice altogether this evening. Coach Hugo Sanchez, despite being pressure-free, is reluctant to throw the game away. “We want to finish this stage on top of the group. We want to beat Chile and the players who will be fielded will want to win too. There is no other option but to win” he said. Well there is really. A draw would give them top spot too…

While Mexico are putting out a slightly weakened team by choice, Chile are doing so out of necessity. A build up of suspensions and injuries means that Chile will have a slightly unfamiliar look to their starting 11 this evening. 5 of Nelson Acosta’s regular lineup are either injured or suspended for tonight’s clash which does not bode well as Chile need at least a point to guarantee passage to the next round. If Chile don’t win against Mexico and the USA win tomorrow night by a three goal margin then Chile will be saying goodbye to the Copa America. Chile’s is a case of desperation while Mexico may be in the position to frustrate them, not really needing anything from the game. Could well be a stalemate.

Prediction: Mexico 2 – 2 Chile

Probable lineups:

Mexico: Oswaldo Sánchez – Francisco Rodríguez, Rafael Márquez, Jhonny Magallón, Fausto Pinto – Jaime Correa, Gerardo Torrado, José Antonio Castro, Andrés Guardado – Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Omar Bravo ou Adolfo Bautista.

Chile: Claudio Bravo – Sebastián Rocco, Pablo Contreras, Ismael Fuentes – Gonzalo Fierro, Arturo Sanhueza, Manuel Iturra, Carlos Villanueva, Rodrigo Tello – Juan Lorca and Humberto Suazo. 

Alex Aguinaga (Ecuador), thinks that sticking his toungue against the inside of his mouth helps him control the ball… 

Brazil V Ecuador (KO. 1.50am)

Brazil are a step away from qualification this evening and really only need to avoid defeat against Ecuador. Even if Ecuador really surprise the planet and get a result then Brazil would probably still go through. Brazil will be hoping to build on their 3-0 defeat of Chile in the last round and prepare themselves for the next stage. Coach Dunga will be without right back, Maicon, who suffered a heavy challenge against Chile but waiting in the wings is Daniel Alves who will relish a run out in the team. Elano is also a doubt for tonight’s game but Dunga will have no problem filling the spot as Baptista and Anderson have both played there in the competition so far. Robinho is certainly the one to watch tonight. The Real Madrid striker has 3 goals already and looks certain to add more to his tally before the competition is through. Tonight could be an opportunity to beef up his score.

Ecuador have had a miserable campaign so far and it looks like it will only get worse tonight. Ecuador need a miracle to get to the quarter finals of the Copa America, needing to beat Brazil by 2 and Mexico to hammer Chile. Not very likely. And what’s worse, the coach doesn’t think they have a hope either and admitted that “victory against Brazil doesn’t seem probable”. Defeats to both Mexico and Chile leave them on the bottom of Group B with ‘nul points’ as they say in the Eurovision. And as if it couldn’t get worse, their captain, talisman, and only fella who looked like he was trying, Ivan Hurtado, is out for the game with an injury. They don’t stand a chance and Coach Suarez took it on the chin in a press conference after the Chile game and said “I want to apologize to the whole country because this is a failure”.  He’s right too. Probably hopes there will be a great big whole in the ground just by the dugout this evening to climb into when Brazil run riot on his lads. Should be entertaining in a sick sort of way. Like watching a snake eat a mouse… except with a ball…

Prediction: Brazil 5 – 2 Ecuador

Probable Lineups:

Brazil: Doni – Daniel Alves, Alex, Juan, Gilberto – Gilberto Silva, Mineiro, Elano (or Júlio Baptista) and Anderson – Robinho and Vágner Love.Ecuador: Cristian Mora – Ulises de la Cruz, Ivan Hurtado, Giovanni Espinoza, Oscar Bagui – Segundo Castillo, Edwin Tenorio, Antonio Valencia, Edison Mendez – Cristian Benitez and Carlos Tenorio.

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