SANTA CLARA — Chile thrashed a very poor Mexican team 7-0 in the Copa America Centenario led by a high powered attacking trio between Edson Puch, Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas.
Chile took control of the game from the beginning and gave Mexico its worst loss in any official competition in its history and the second worst all time. Mexico’s worst lost in history was a 8-0 defeat in a friendly against England in 1961.
Here are the keys to the game:
There is no question that Chile was better, faster and smarter than Mexico in all facets of the game, but from early on the Chileans took control of the ball and pressured the Mexico back up high to send a clear message.
Chile played similarly as when both teams had faced each other 17 days earlier in San Diego but this time they finished their chances.
Just 10 minutes in Nestor Araujo was forced to make a good sliding tackle to prevent Puch to open the score after Hector Moreno completely lost its mark.
At the 16th minute Marcelo Diaz struck a shot from distance which was saved by Guillermo Ochoa but the rebound fell to the feet of Puch who had to tap the ball into the net to take the lead.
Just before halftime Eduardo Vargas after a great ball from Alexis Sanchez extended the lead to 2-0 after 44 minutes to put Mexico against the wall.
Vargas went on to score four goals in the match, Puch scored twice and Sanchez scored one in the 7-0 rout.
Everything went wrong
As I had mentioned before, the biggest issue I had with Juan Carlos Osorio was the constant and unnecessary number of changes to the line-up from one game to the next.
The reason Chile was able to humiliated Mexico is because the same players have been playing together and under the same system for more than seven years. Arturo Vidal has the ability to find Sanchez without having him on his sights because of how well they know each other’s movements .
In the stating lineup Osorio used two of the best players and put them in roles they are completely unfamiliar with. Andres Guardado who plays in the middle close to the left flank was used as a defensive midfielder. Herrera who typically does the same but on the opposite side was used as a No. 10 to play behind Javier Hernandez. Those moves by Osorio left miles of space through the flanks that both full backs Jose Fuenzalida and Jean Bousejour took advantage of to put numbers up front and gave Mexico a very hard time getting the ball up to their attackers.
The key moment of the game was at the start of the second half when Raul Jimenez who came off the been created a half chance for Mexico and was then followed by a huge defensive mistakes just two minutes later. In the 49th minute Mexico’s defense found themselves under pressure and instead of trying to clear the ball lost possession and Alexis Sanchez made them pay scoring the third goal of the game and sealing the win for Chile.
Team falls apart
With the 3-0 scoreline the team completely fell to pieces. The most humiliating aspect of the game was that the team stopped competing and Chile’s front three had an absolute feast the play that marked what kind of game it was came in the 74th minute when Sanchez started the play on the left and placed the ball looking for a teammate in the far post, two Mexican defenders where in position to make a play but got caught ball-watching allowing Puch to slide and hit the post and Vargas who came from behind out his shot on target on a tough angle.
It’s hard to asses a team after suffering such a massive blowout the only decent players fro the Mexican side where the two substitutes that came from the bench Raul Jimenez and Carlos Peña who showed just a bit more character and desire to do something, others like Corona and Javier Hernandez are hard to judge because they barely had any contact with the ball although Corona’s play off the ball wasn’t great and gave plenty of space to Fuenzalida. The rest, especially the defense had an abysmal evening.
Chile’s 7-0 victory is the largest margin of victory in a Copa America since the 1999 tournament when Brazil defeated Venezuela by the same scoreline. The win also ties Chile’s best result ever along with two other 7-0 victories against Venezuela in 1979 and Armenia in 1999. Both Sanchez and Vargas reached 35 goals with the national team tying Ivan Zamorano for second place as the most prolific scorers in Chilean history and are now just two goals shy of the record holder Marcelo Salas.
For Mexico this became the second worst loss in its history. The last time Mexico was blown out in Copa America was a 3-0 to Argentina in the 2007 tournament semifinals and a 4-0 loss to Brazil in the 2004 Copa America quarterfinals.
Although Osorio is a very knowledgeable and innovative coach he needs to understand that first he needs to impose a style of play that the players are really familiar with which he’s done to some extent. The next step to make is to settle a starting eleven in order to gain familiarity not just with his system but with each other and needs to ensure the players stick to roles that they are comfortable in.
Too many times in this Copa America strikers from the opposition found themselves behind the defense. In the game in Pasadena Jamaica generated almost as may chances as Chile the problem was that they weren’t able to finish them.
Despite the win Chile suffered an important blow, Arturo Vidal earned his second yellow of the tournament and will not be available for the semifinals, Chile will now face Colombia in what should be a great match to watch in Chicago on June 22. The other semifinal will be disputed between U.S. and Argentina in Houston on June 21.