Ecuador in the Quarterfinals of the Copa América, Venezuela Achieves a Perfect Record

On the other hand, Mexico and Jamaica are eliminated in the group stage of the competition.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 11:21, 1 Jul 2024

On Sunday, Ecuador qualified for the quarterfinals of the Copa América in football by holding off and eliminating Mexico, joining Venezuela, who topped Group B with an unprecedented perfect record.

In an intense match at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the Ecuadorians had to fight until the end to maintain a 0-0 draw against a Mexican team that needed a win to reach the knockout stage. The match, filled with tension and high stakes, saw both teams struggling to break the deadlock. Ecuador, under immense pressure, defended resolutely while Mexico, knowing that only a victory would suffice, pushed forward aggressively, particularly in the second half.

Forced to win, the 'Aztecs' began to push harder in the second half, with Santiago Giménez being the most active but unable to score, particularly in the 59th and 65th minutes, against an Ecuador team that counterattacked with Enner Valencia leading the way. The pressure mounted as the clock ticked down, with Mexico throwing everything forward in search of a breakthrough. However, their efforts were thwarted by Ecuador's disciplined defense and the heroics of their goalkeeper.

The drama peaked in the 97th minute when Guillermo Martínez fell in the area in a challenge with Félix Torres, and the referee awarded a penalty. Yet, alerted by the VAR, he reviewed the footage and overturned the decision, much to the relief of the Ecuadorian team and their fans. This moment epitomized the intensity and unpredictability of the match.

The Ecuadorians' 'agony' ended shortly after, with their 'passport' to the quarterfinals secured, where they will face the reigning champions, Argentina, on Thursday. Meanwhile, Mexico is out of the tournament, their hopes dashed by a resilient Ecuadorian side.

In contrast, the clash at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, was uneventful, given the superiority of the already qualified Venezuela over the already eliminated Jamaica (3-0), built on three second-half goals. Venezuela, brimming with confidence from their previous performances, dominated the match from the start. However, the first half saw little action as both teams seemed to be conserving energy for the latter stages.

In Austin, in a clash between teams with their fates practically sealed, Jamaica was the first to create danger with a header over the bar by Cephas (21 minutes), after Venezuela had already lost Darwin Machís for the quarterfinals due to a yellow card. This early scare jolted Venezuela into action.

Venezuela did little in the first half, but started the second half strong, scoring two goals in quick succession. The first came in the 49th minute, with Aramburu crossing from the left and Eduard Bello heading in successfully at the far post. This goal opened the floodgates as Venezuela began to play with more freedom and creativity.

Seven minutes later, Salomon Rondón scored his second goal of the tournament after a pass from Herrera and a slight left-footed touch while falling. This goal highlighted Venezuela's attacking prowess and Rondón's clinical finishing.

The Venezuelans, with midfielder Telasco Segovia in the starting lineup (substituted in the 74th minute), had several chances to extend their lead, which they did in the 85th minute through Eric Ramírez, set up by Kervin Andrade. This third goal sealed a comprehensive victory for Venezuela, who looked comfortable throughout the match.

As the winners of Group B, achieving a perfect record in the group stage for the first time, Venezuela avoided Argentina and will face Canada in the quarterfinals on Friday. This remarkable achievement underscores Venezuela's impressive form and sets up an intriguing clash with Canada, as they look to continue their winning streak and advance further in the tournament.

Updated: 11:21, 1 Jul 2024