IT’S all to play for in the final round of Group A fixtures. Both Mexico and Ecuador are chasing vital Copa America points. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the betting.
Mexico v Ecuador | Friday 22.00 | Premier Sports
Sometimes in football, the result doesn’t always tell the full story. Sometimes in football, us fans can become a little too infatuated by the short-term too. Both sentiments can be attributed to the odds we’re presented with as Mexico and Ecuador meet in a must-win final Group A game on Friday night.
Mexico arrived in Chile with an understrength side but a squad capable of competing. However, a drab display in their opening encounter with Bolivia wasn’t quite what the doctor ordered. But Miguel Herrera’s men bounced back to collect an impressive point in a topsy-turvy 3-3 with Chile last time out.
And now’s the time to step in and put the brakes on El Tri. Mexico boasted just 29% possession in that clash with Chile and were fortunate to escape with a point as the tournament hosts pressed hard for a winner late on. La Roja twice had goals ruled out and peppered Jesus Corona goal with a flurry of attacks as the Mexican defence creaked in the absence of Rafa Marquez.
We should give Herrera’s side credit, mind. Mexico clearly targeted the lack of height in the Chilean ranks with Matias Vuoso and Raul Jimenez enjoying plenty of luck from set-pieces and delivery from the flanks. Despite the positives, there are certainly still plenty of unanswered questions surrounding this side and so I’m unprepared to find any justification for the 6/4 (Bet365) quotes surrounding El Tri’s chances.
Ecuador may have lost 14 of their previous 17 Copa America matches and been beaten in 10 of their last 13 head-to-head duels with Mexico but as we know, this isn’t a first-choice El Tri team. And going back to the first paragraph of this piece, it’s well worth giving Ecuador the benefit of the doubt in the short-term and not reading too much into the result against Bolivia in their last fixture.
Against Chile in their opener, Amarillos fought hard, wasting opportunities and gifting two goals to the host nation. And Gustavo Quinterros’ side were similarly reckless in their last match, trailing 3-0 at the interval to Group A underdogs Bolivia. Despite a second-half onslaught Ecuador couldn’t claw an equaliser back and finished the fixture with 74% possession and out-shooting their opponents by 26 efforts to five.
Five goals conceded in their two Copa outings so far is most certainly cause for concern but Ecuador know three points is an absolute must if they’re to stand any chance of progression via one of the best third-place finishers route and I’m prepared to put faith in the Quinterros’ pointless troops in Rancagua.
Mexico themselves have been far from solid in defensive areas and there’s more x-factor in the Ecuador forward line to cause El Tri trouble. Amarillos have netted in 17 of their previous 22 meaningful matches and so with that in mind, I simply must find a pro-Ecuador angle with the prices onside. I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised to see Ecuador available at odds-against in the Draw No Bet market. William Hill are dangling 11/10 in my direction and I’m keen to get involved at those quotes.
But there’s also merit in exploring a high-scoring clash from Rancagua too – nine of the last 12 meetings between the two nations have featured three goals or more with 10 also banking for Both Teams To Score punters. The third round of group games in the past four Copa Americas are averaging 3.17 goals-per-games and so I’ll take the 19/20 also from William Hill that Friday night’s game produces Over 2.5 Goals.
Mexico v Ecuador – Ecuador draw no bet (11/10 William Hill)
Mexico v Ecuador – Over 2.5 Goals (19/20 William Hill)