In what started in disaster for Uruguay only got worse for them as Mexico completely dominated the game from initial whistle to the whistle in the 90th minute, and Mexico shone bright and beat Uruguay by a score of 3-1.
The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona was packed to the brim with Mexican fans as they cheered on their beloved Tri in what everyone foresaw as a tough matchup between two quality teams. As the anthems got underway, there was already some controversies as, for one, they played the Chilean anthem and passed it off as the Uruguayan anthem.
As the Uruguayan squad looked around in confusion, there was another moment of disarray in the stands as Pancho Villa’s Army tried to unroll a tifo on one of the stands. There was one problem, however, as there was a huge contingent of Uruguayan fans that was sitting where one part should have been unfurled and they prevented the tifo from unraveling further. Things got worse as, once they played the wrong anthem, that small Uruguayan fan base tried to tear the tifo in anger causing a scene before the match was even played.
“It was a lack of respect, in my opinion,” said Uruguayan defender Álvaro Pereira. “It was a production error and no one likes to pass through a moment like that and obviously, we respect any anthem being played, but that was not our anthem that was playing.”
After that snafu, the game got underway and it didn’t take long for Mexico to net their first goal, thanks to some Uruguayan help. A killer cross from Andres Guardado destined for Hector Herrera was intercepted by Álvaro Pereira, but he ended up hitting into his own net for the 1-0 Mexico lead in the fourth minute.
Mexico held the possession for most of the first half as they completely snuffed out the Uruguayan attack, even with a three man backline. Then in the dying moments of the second half, Matias Vecino earned his second yellow card for a reckless challenge and was sent to the showers early.
Going into the second half, Mexico being a man up, one would think that they would dominate further, but far from it. Uruguay found their fighting spirit and really took it to Mexico who was reeling. Uruguay’s persistence paid off as they netted an equalizer after Andres Guardado got sent off for a second yellow as well. Off a free kick, Carlos Sanchez played the ball perfectly to Diego Godín who headed the ball past Alfredo Talavera for the equalizer.
With the playing field even at 10 men each, it looked as if Uruguay was going to take the upper hand but a goal in the 85th minute by none other than the ageless wonder, Rafa Márquez, put Mexico up front by one. In what was a crazy sequence, the ball was pinged around the box and Márquez took a shot from almost outside the box and he rifled it past Muslera for the 2-1.
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As if that wasn’t enough, Mexico added another in what was a team effort Hirving Lozano found Raúl Jiménez who then chipped a ball to Héctor Herrera as he calmly put in the third goal as the Mexican fans went bonkers inside the University of Phoenix Stadium. The final whistle blew and the Uruguayan squad had a lot to say about the last minutes of the game to the linesmen and official. But in the end, it was Mexico’s who came out victorious, as they got the three points.
“We fought in the second half, the team showed great quality and great effort and we managed to get a victory,” said Márquez after the game.
“We try to demonstrate that to the world, and ourselves, that we can go toe-to-toe with the big squads in the continent. We want to show that we are daring and we are capable of offensive-minded football,” said Guardado.
Mexico now leads Group B by goal differential and will take on Jamaica in the Rose Bowl and Uruguay will look to rebound against Venezuela in Philadelphia, both games are on June 9.