Mexico beat Uruguay 3-1 To Finish 3rd

Mexico came from a goal down to clinch third place in the Copa America for the third time after they beat 10-man Uruguay 3-1 in Caracas this evening.

Abreu opened the scoring for Uruguay in the 21st minute but Mexico equalised when Blanco scored from the spot in the 35th minute as Uruguay were reduced to 10 men with Lugano given his marching orders for the penalty incident.

Los Charrúas held out for a further half hour but Omar Bravo and Guardado scored mid way through the half to wrap the game up for the Tri. It was the first game of the tournament staged in the capital Caracas, which lost the right to hold one of the semi-finals because of “security concerns” over the Olympic stadium.

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Tevez To Start Final; Crespo On Bench

Argentina will start tomorrow’s Copa America final against Brazil with Carlos Tevez alongside Lionel Messi in the same starting 11 that overcame Mexico in the Wednesday’s semi.

Basile said Tevez would start in prefence to Hernan Crespo, his first choice striker who is fit again after a muscle injury sustained against Colombia in his country’s second match of the tournament. Basile said Crespo was fit but hadn’t trained, while Tevez had come in and played well and deserved to keep his spot.

“Crespo has worked hard with our medical team an is ready to play,” Basile told reporters. “But he hasn’t trained for 12 days while Tevez has come in and done well. Crespo will be on the bench and who knows, he could come on for 15 minutes in the second half.”

Basile gave his starting 11 as: Abbondanzieri; Zanetti, Ayala, Gabriel Milito, Heinze; Mascherano, Cambiasso, Verón, Riquelme; Messi and Tevez.

Brazil are yet to name their side with the big doubt being who will replace captain Gilbert Silva, who is suspended after receiving two yellow cards. Elano is the favourite to fill his role in midfield but manager Dunga could also shuffle things about and include either Diego or Anderson, both of whom have featured in his Copa line ups.

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Blatter Loves Love

FIFA President Sepp Blatter thinks that Vanger Love was the best player of the Copa America.

Blatter said Love, along with Argentina’s Lionel Messi, were his personal favourites from the tournament.

It would be hard to take Blatter seriously were he not so brilliant at holding onto power at such  an influential and powerful organisation as FIFA.  He is clearly an intelligent man whose considerable personal charm are rivalled by his ability to mainpulate. But statements like this show just how little he knows about football.

Vagner Love is a decent enough centre forward. But he was not the outstanding player for Brazil, never mind of the whole competition.

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Elano Favoured To Replace Gilberto Silva

Elano is in line to replace the suspended Gilberto Silva in Brazil’s midfield for tomorrow’s Copa America showdown with Argentina.

The Shaktar Donetsk utility man took over in Gilberto Silva’s midfield role during Dunga’s training session on Friday. The first team chosen by Dnga for the run out lost 1-0 to the 11 reserves.

Elano’s inclusion would not be a surprise as he had, until the start of the competition, played in every one of Dunga’s games in charge. The Manager is a big fan of the former Santos player’s running on the right hand side of the midfield.

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Argentina And The Heat of Maracaibo

Maracaibo – where tomorrow’s final will be played – is the hottest and most humid of the Copa’s host cities providing a factor that might work against Argentina.

Sunday’s game at 18:05 will be the earliest kick-off they have yet faced and that after one day’s less recovery from their semi-final than the Brazil squad has enjoyed.

Temperatures in Maracaibo can touch 40° C and the coolest prediction for tomorrow’s game is 28° C. This will provide a new challenge as so far all of Argentina’s five games have been played at night, the earliest so far being the 19:50 kick-off in Barquisimeto against Peru. Otherwise they’ve played most of their football after 10pm.

Argentina are a side clearly in peak physical condition saving much of their best play for the second half of games – when they’ve scored 11 of their 16 goals. But as right-back Zanetti cautioned yesterday “we’ll have to take care that the heat doesn’t affect us.”

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The Five Reasons Mexico Is Going For A Sorry Hat-trick

Today’s game against Uruguay will see Mexico trying to win the third place play-off for the third time, having won one of the most dispiriting games in football already in 1997 and 1999.

Mexico’s El Universal goes over the five reasons why the Tri ended up once again in tonight’s game and not tomorrow’s final:

1.

The inclusion of Oswaldo Sánchez in goal, who was gravely at fault for the first Argentina goal and caught out for the second.

2.

Guardado’s shot off the post in the 34th minute of the 1st half. Just 10 minutes before Argentina’s goal, had this gone in it could have changed the course of the game.

3.

The taking off of Torrado and Cacho at half-time. The team were 1-0 down but they had a stability that was lost with the withdrawal of these two players.

4.

The entrance of Medina and Omar Bravo. The latter leaves much to be desired while the former was involved in the disastrous Gold Cup and didn’t do enough to justify his inclusion in the squad.

5.

The injury to Nery Castillo. He was on from the start but he was still absent.

Mexico came into the Copa in disarray with coach Hugo Sánchez under pressure after the disastrous showing in the Gold Cup and Sánchez showed up pleading for patience from his critics in the media. The rancor was quickly forgotten when Mexico beat Brazil in their opener and and went on to top their group and stroll to the semi-finals.

But of the five reasons El Universal cites above for the defeat to Argentina – all mentioned elsewhere in the Mexican press – three are direct criticisms of Sánchez’s tactics and it looks like the pressure is now back on the coach.

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Still Bitter, Uruguay Prepare For 3rd Place Play-Off

Uruguay face Mexico this evening in Caracas in the 3rd place play-off still bitter about their elimination by Brazil in a penalty shoot-out in the semi-final.

Uruguayans claim they were let down by the refereeing on Tuesday night which should have ordered their final penalty kick be retaken as Brazil’s Doni was several strides off his line. Doni saved the spot kick of Uruguay’s captain Diego Lugano to dump out Uruguay.

Now the president of the Uruguayan Football Association Dr. José Luis Corbo has sent a letter to the refereeing committee of CONMEBOL, the region’s federation, demanding that Tuesday’s referee, Colombian Oscar Ruiz, no longer officiate any games involving Uruguay or Uruguayan club sides.

Uruguayan football officials say that Tuesday night was not the first time that Ruiz had prejudiced their sides and that they are within their right in making the request.

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