Rafa Márquez Is Easily the MVP in Mexico’s Win Over Uruguay

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Rafa Márquez proved to be the hero in a thrilling 3-1 victory by Mexico over Uruguay. Márquez smashed home the decisive goal, giving Mexico the lead, with only five minutes left in the game. The wonderful blasted shot beat the goalkeeper with sheer power. By soccer standards, he might be old as dirt, but throughout the game, Márquez showed his skills are still top class through his defending and leadership.

Hector Herrera sealed the victory with an easy goal in stoppage time.

Mexico scored in the first five minutes because Uruguay scored against itself after a perfect cross from Andrés Guardado. Mexico perhaps should have put the game away sooner considering Matías Vecino got himself sent off in the first half for two dumb fouls. But Uruguay is a super tough team, and in the second half played better with 10 men than it did at any point with 11.

The game featured standout performances from the captains of each team. On the other side, Diego Godín almost provided Uruguay with the equalizer when he led a one-man breakaway, only for his teammate to squander a golden opportunity. And then, after Guardado’s second yellow card got him sent off, Godín did what he’s done many times for Atlético Madrid: scored from a header on a set piece. Barcelona fans could have warned Mexico.

The game got off to a poor start for Uruguay as the incorrect national anthem – Chile’s – played during the pre-game ceremonies. Mexican fans booed the anthem, possibly as a show of solidarity with Uruguay against the disrespectful mistake, or possibly just as a fuck you to Uruguay. We’ll never know for sure.

Copa America did put out a statement at halftime apologizing for the mistake.

The controversy over the “puto” chant dragged on as Univision issued a warning to viewers about potentially abusive language that might be heard during the broadcast. Sure enough, the chant could be heard on several occasions. Many will argue about the intent of the chant and whether it’s homophobic or not, but as a practical matter, that debate doesn’t help the Mexican federation avoid punishment from FIFA.

Despite the ugly moments, it’s easily the best game of the Copa América Centenario. It featured two genuine contenders to win the tournament and they lived up to the hype. More of this, please.