Mexico 1-1 Venezuela
13 June 2016
NRG Stadium, Houston
Copa America Centenario
Scorers: Velazquez (Venezuela); Corona (Mexico)
Mexico came from behind to retain the UFWC title and remain Unofficial Football World Champions with this draw against Venezuela. Both Mexico and Venezuela had already qualified for the knockout stage, but the draw means Mexico finish top of Group C and almost certainly avoid favourites Argentina in the quarter finals.
Jose Manuel Velazquez gave Venezuela the lead in the 10th minute with a flying volley after a long free kick was headed across the box by Christian Santos.
Mexico had the best of the play as they went in search of an equaliser, but didn’t properly test Venezuela’s Dani Hernandez until the 75th minute, when the keeper made an excellent close-range double save.
Then, in the 80th minute, Mexico finally got their equaliser, when Porto winger Jesus Corona dribbled through the middle of the Venezuela defence and stroked the ball past Hernandez.
Venezuela almost grabbed a late winner through Josef Martinez, but Mexico keeper Jose de Jesus Corona made a good save. The game finished 1-1, and both Mexico and Venezuela advance to the quarter finals.
As winners of group C, Mexico will play the runners-up of group D in the next UFWC title match. This will most likely be Chile or Panama, depending on the result of the match between those two teams today. (It is mathematically possible that Argentina could finish as runner-up in group D, but, with a six-goal difference advantage, this would require extremely unlikely results.)
UPDATE: Chile defeated Panama 4-2 to claim their place in the quarter finals, meaning the next UFWC title match will be Mexico vs Chile. Chile were Unofficial Football World Champions as recently as last November, and have won 15 previous UFWC title matches.
The match will be played at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Saturday, 18 June. The winner will then play the winner of Peru vs Colombia, in Chicago on 22 June.
As a reminder, extra time and penalty shoot-outs do count for UFWC purposes (although at this Copa America extra time will only be played if required in the final, and not in the other knockout stages). The UFWC title is now guaranteed to be in play all the way to the Copa America final.
This match was played on the evening of 13 June in Houston, which was the morning of 14 June in the UK.