Copa America Centenario
Sunday 5th June 2016
Kick off 17.00 Actual 17.08
Mexico 3 Uruguay 1, attendance 60,025
4′ 1-0 A. Pereira (OG)
74′ 1-1 D. Godin
85′ 2-1 R. Marquez
90′ + 2, 3-1 H. Herrera
@ University Phoenix Stadium
1, Cardinals Drive
Glendale, AZ 85305
Admission $60 + $12.65 fees, Print at home ticket.
A mid morning flight saw me arrive into Phoenix from Los Angeles. I needed a hire car today as I would not be doing an overnight stop, so apart from getting to and from the stadium, it would also act as luggage storage.
Before the tournament started this was looked at as the match that would decide who finishes top of the group. Whether that is how it turns out remains to be seen, but Mexico have now stretched their unbeaten run to 20 matches. There was a total farce concerning the organisation here, with the anthem of Chile being played instead of the Uruguan one, although even if I knew what each of them sounded like, I wouldn’t have known as the booing and whistling from the Mexican support totally drowned it out anyway. Pre game saw the usual charade of ‘musical chairs’ amongst the illiterates, something that you just have to accept if you attend these matches.
Mexico had got off to an excellent start and although they were pegged back they always looked like they would still nick it. Uruguay had lost Vecino to a red card on the stroke of halftime, before things were levelled up at 10-a-side when Guardado received a second yellow card just two minutes before Uruguay equalised.Edinson Cavani was excellent for Uruguay, but they really missed the injured Luis Suarez to partner him up front.
Mexico had at least 50,000 of the crowd on their side, many the worse for wear due to too much alcohol, the Uruguayans were in small pockets dotted around the stadium. Three Uruguayan supporters near me took a fair few punches following their equaliser and again when Mexico went back in front. The stewards just stood back and watched, hoping it would be sorted out without them having to actually do their job.
The University Phoenix Stadium opened in 2006 and is home to the Arizona Cardinals of the N.F.L. having a capacity of 63,400. Despite the University of Phoenix name, it is only a corporate sponsorship deal and is not used as the home stadium of the university, as they have no intercollegiate athletics programme. The pitch here is fully retractable natural grass, being the first of its kind in the United States. Thankfully the stadium is also fully enclosed, as when I arrived in the car park an hour before kick off the car temperature gauge was showing 117 degrees. At least when I left the stadium it was much cooler, just 113 degrees.
Back to the airport, via a stop off for a meal and checked in nice and early. However, 25 minutes after checking in, I was told by the Spirit Airlines staff that the flight due to leave for Dallas just after midnight had been cancelled due to a lack of flight crew. It later transpired that the same thing had happened the night before. Luckily, being there early meant a bette chance of being transferred onto another airline, rather than wait until the following night, which was what many were being offered. Unfortunately, the first available flight was the 05.00 on American Airlines. So it was three and a bit hours of broken sleep in the airport lounge, something that quite a few English Groundhoppers do regularly out of choice as they are too tight to pay for a hotel room and having a shower is something that never occurs to them. Not my idea of how to travel, but as they say, you get what you pay for. At least I have no other flights booked with Spirit and I can’t see that ever being the case again.