Mexico (FIFA Rank 16) v Venezuela (77)
Both Mexico and tournament surprise team Venezuela have already advanced to the quarterfinals. The winner of this game will win Group C and likely avoid a matchup with Argentina in the quarterfinals. Mexico will win the group in case of a draw via goal differential.
Mexico are on an absolute roll right now on an 11 game winning streak and unbeaten in 21 overall. This match is in Houston's NRG Stadium and will feature a raucous pro-Mexico crowd. Winning the group is a priority for Mexico. A win puts them in the bracket to play second place from Group D (probably Chile, possibly Panama) in Santa Clara with a semi-final facing the winner of Colombia v Peru in Chicago. Avoiding the side of the bracket with Argentina is crucial for Mexico's very realistic title hopes.
Venezuela have become the upset darlings of the tournament. After earning a 1-0 win over Jamaica in their opener they stunned Uruguay with a second consecutive 1-0 win that saw them advance to the knockout round and the favored Uruguay be sent home early. At this point Venezuela have the hopes of a nation behind them, a nation that is in the midst of some very hard times. They will be happy to already be advanced, but do not look for them to roll over for Mexico. That being said, Jamaica had the run of play advantage against Venezuela in their opener and Uruguay was horribly wasteful in front of net in their upset loss. If Mexico is more clinical and Venezuela gives up the same opportunities, this might get away from Venezuela.
Uruguay (9) v Jamaica (45)
Uruguay were many pundits pick as a dark horse to advance in the tournament. But that was predicated on them advancing out of the group stage and Luis Suarez playing his way into the tournament. Now they are out and Suarez has not suited up in the tournament. Well actually in a bizarre twist during the Venezuela game Suarez did suit up, then warmed up, had his shin guards on and looked like he was trying to talk his way into a substitution. Unfortunately, the Uruguay coaching staff had declared Suarez out and he was not available as a substitute for the game.
Jamaica have played well in the tournament, they were unlucky to lose their opener to Venezuela 1-0 as the Reggae Boyz went down to 10 men on 24 minutes then proceeded to boss the game but were unable to score. Then they played a spirited match against Mexico only to lose to the group favorites in front of 83,263 spectators at the Rose Bowl. If Uruguay had beaten Venezuela as expected this match would likely have been for second place. But instead it is the proverbial dead rubber. You have to play the game, but the result does not matter.
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