Mexico out of Copa América after Ecuador draw


Ecuador secured a place in the Copa América quarterfinals on Sunday after grinding out a 0-0 draw with Mexico, which bowed out of the tournament after finishing third in Group B.

Ecuador, who finished level with Mexico on four points but progress to the last eight thanks to a superior goal difference. will now play defending champions Argentina in the quarters, while group winners Venezuela, who beat Jamaica 3-0, take on Canada.

With the game almost over, Ecuador was whistled for a penalty for tripping in the area, but after a video review the call was overturned by head referee Mario Alberto Escobar Toca.

“I don’t like to talk about our referee. It is what it is and I believe we have more possibilities now that we have VAR,” Mexico coach Jaime Lozano said. “After an early exit, I don’t want to talk about the referee.”

In a physical first half, Mexico attacked with real intensity as they sought the win they needed, but lacked quality on the ball and failed to record a shot on target.

Lozano’s side continued to push after the break, and Gerardo Arteaga was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Felix Torres, while Julian Quinones tested Ecuador’s Alexander Dominguez with a long-range effort.

Mexico continued to throw bodies forward in their search of a winner and were awarded a penalty when Torres appeared to bring down Guillermo Martinez, but the decision was overturned after the referee consulted the pitchside monitor for a video review.

Orbelin Pineda reacts after missing a chance during Mexico’s Copa America match with Ecuador.

Mexico failed to get out of the group stage for the fourth time in its last five Copa América appearances, which could put coach Lozano’s job in jeopardy. Mexico was also eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Lozano also faced criticism after their 2-0 loss to the United States in the 2024 Concacaf Nations League final, and defeats in two recent friendlies, including a 4-0 thrashing by Uruguay.

When asked about his team’s performance and his future as Mexico coach, Lozano said: “There were many players who had never played in a tournament like this, which is directly below the World Cup. Other players [who played] in the Cup didn’t have the results of other games. But I believe the team has grown in many aspects. The decision is not up to me.”

Ecuador, ahead 4-1 in goal differential, only needed a draw to reach the quarterfinals following a 3-1 win over Jamaica and a 2-1 loss to group leader Venezuela.

Mexico had a slight advantage in possession the first half (54%) and took seven shots, but continued its struggles with efficiency.

El Tri didn’t have a shot on goal, and its best scoring chance came in the final minutes of the half, when Santiago Giménez sent a header over the crossbar.

Ecuador had the best chance of the half in the 19th minute, when Kendry Paez’s shot to the near post on a free kick forced Julio González to make a save.

Mexico began ramping up the pressure early in the second half, creating more scoring opportunities.

Supporters of Mexico were irate when referee Toca didn’t call a foul when Ecuador’s Torres took down Arteaga in the penalty box, but the non-call was upheld on VAR. Santiago Giménez sent another header over the crossbar on the ensuing corner kick.



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