Bundesliga players made themselves heard all over the second round of Copa America Centenario group-stage matches: three players delivered four goals, two of them game-winners, to bolster their nation’s chances of advancing to the knockout stages.
‘Little Pea’ nods Mexico into knockout stage
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Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez’s role in making Mexico’s attack tick is not all about him finding the net. Chicharito’s’ movement was widely praised for the part it played in Mexico defeating 15-time Copa America champions Uruguay.
The prolific Bayer 04 Leverkusen man is not often kept off the scoresheet though, and an 18th-minute header from the Mexican hero opened the scoring in a 2-0 win over Jamaica in his country’s second group game. Chicharito’s 45th goal for his national team not only helped secure El Tri's progress from Group C, it also pulled him to within one strike of Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer, Jared Borgetti.
'Hawaiian Messi’ proving he belongs
Bobby Wood’s 42nd-minute strike to put the USA 3-0 up in their must-win match against Costa Rica may have been the least crucial goal scored by a Germany-based player this week, but it left little doubt about Wood’s nose for finding the net.
After drawing the attention of four defenders, veteran US attacker Clint Dempsey found Wood with a pass that put the Hawaiian through for a one-on-one with his marker just inside the area. Wood collected the pass tidily before turning and firing a low shot inside the post and under the goalkeeper’s glove.
If the goal was not enough to convince onlookers that coach Jürgen Klinsmann has found his much sought-after scoring threat, it is worth noting that Wood's positioning on an incoming cross also drew a two-handed shove in the back from a Costa Rican defender to give Dempsey an early opportunity to slot home a penalty which paved the way for a runaway 4-0 win.
Vidal delivers brace to carry Chile
Having lost their tournament opener to Argentina, FIFA’s fifth-ranked national team had every reason to expect they could dispatch 82nd ranked Bolivia to get their tournament hopes back on track.
After the first half ended goalless, Chile seemed in danger of a fate similar to Uruguay, a tournament favourite undone by a lacklustre, uninspired attack.
Just moments into the second half, though, FC Bayern München man Arturo Vidal collected a ball passed into the middle of the penalty area and coolly deposited it past the Bolivian keeper to get Chile their long-awaited first lead of the tournament.
Bolivia equalised through a magnificent direct free-kick by Jhasmani Campos, but that merely served to heighten the drama of Vidal's injury-time heroics. When a cross was adjudged to have been handled by a Bolivian defender, the task of converting the penalty into three points was left to Vidal.
He did not disappoint, sending Carlos Lampe one way and the game-winner the other.
What is next?
Several Bundesliga-based players still have a chance to help lift their countries into the next stage of Copa America when the final round of group-stage play gets underway on Saturday.