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COPA AMERICA

Mexico advances with victory

July 02, 2007|From the Associated Press

MATURIN, VENEZUELA — Mexico became the first team to advance to the quarterfinals of the Copa America, beating Ecuador, 2-1, on Sunday on goals by Nery Castillo and Omar Bravo.

Castillo scored his second goal of the tournament in the 22nd minute, and Bravo doubled the lead in the 80th. Edison Mendez scored for Ecuador in the 85th minute on a shot that deflected off the foot of a Mexican player.

Mexico (3-0), which has won two consecutive games after a 2-1 loss to the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, tops Group B with six points, followed by Brazil and Chile (1-1) with three apiece and Ecuador (0-2).

El Tri opened with a 2-0 victory over Brazil.

"We dream about winning the Copa, but we need to take things slowly -- qualifying for the quarterfinals was just the first step," Mexico Coach Hugo Sanchez said. "Just because we beat Brazil, we shouldn't be considered the tournament favorites."

In the opener of the doubleheader in South America's championship, Robinho converted a disputed penalty kick in the 35th minute, then added goals in the 83rd and 87th minutes to lead Brazil over Chile, 3-0.

Coming off the loss to Mexico, the defending champions struggled to overcome a team that beat Ecuador, 3-2, in its opener. Robinho put Brazil ahead after Paraguayan referee Carlos Torres called a questionable pushing foul on defender Miguel Riffo in the penalty area.

Today, Colombia looks to revive its quarterfinal hopes against tournament favorite Argentina after receiving a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Paraguay in its opener. An inexperienced U.S. team faces a similarly difficult task in the first Group C match against Paraguay.

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Today's schedule

Group C first-round games today at the Copa America in Venezuela (times are Pacific):

at Barinas

* U.S. vs. Paraguay, 3:30 p.m. TV: KFTR

at Maracaibo

* Argentina vs. Colombia, 5:45 p.m.

TV: KFTR

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