Mexico 0-0 Ecuador result: Mexico out, warning over anti-gay slogan

Mexico needed to beat Ecuador in their final Group B match to advance to the Copa America knockout stage, but they were held to a 0-0 draw. They almost got a lifeline in the final seconds of extra time when the referee initially awarded Mexico a penalty, but the decision was overturned after a video review.

Mexico scored just one goal in 270 minutes of group play in a disappointing tournament for the 2026 World Cup co-hosts. At the end of Sunday's game, three announcements were also played over the tannoy at State Farm Stadium, warning fans to refrain from chanting discriminatory slogans. A statement warning that the referee has the right to suspend the match if anti-gay slurs continue was also shown in Spanish on the big screen.

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Mexico vs Ecuador match threatened to be stopped due to anti-gay chanting

And what reward will Ecuador get for stopping Mexico? A quarterfinal clash with world champions Argentina in Houston on July 4.

Stuart James and Thom Harris assess the key talking points…

Should Argentina be worried by what they saw in this match?

Panic? Perhaps. Does Argentina have enough to worry about? Absolutely not.

This was a must-win for Mexico and Ecuador wouldn't have left it to chance, but for long periods of the game it felt like neither team was really doing what it took to win. Poor first touches, aimless long balls, slips, falls and fouls, especially in the goalless opening 45 minutes.

With half an hour to play, Alan Franco inexplicably lofted a five-yard pass onto Piero Hincapie's chest. The left-back had no choice but to control the ball and volley wildly down the line. Two minutes later, the usually excellent Bayer Leverkusen centre-back hit another long ball out of play. When Ecuador did enter the final third – as they did with Enner Valencia in the 80th minute – it was confusing decision-making that let them down.

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Alexander Dominguez celebrates after sealing Ecuador's place in the quarter-finals (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Mexico didn't have many ideas either, and although they stepped up their intensity in the second half when the need for a goal grew greater, the best chances came from set-pieces, penalty-box pinball and individual moments, not any kind of machinations in the dressing room. A 96th-minute penalty, eventually overturned by VAR, would have been the contest's most dramatic get-out-of-jail-free card.

With the defending world champions awaiting them in the next round, things will have to fall into place. Argentina have kept clean sheets in seven of their last eight competitive games, and certainly cannot be broken down without a more complex plan.

Santi Gimenez's goalless group stage

Lost causes. Santiago Gimenez spent much of the time looking for these reasons on another frustrating evening for the Mexico striker, who exited the Copa America without a goal and saw his barren streak for his country extend to 12 matches.

It wasn't for a lack of trying. A header in the first half that went inches over was followed by a right-footed shot in the second period that hit the outside of the post. In between, Gimenez never stopped running the channels, looking for the long balls that Mexico hoped would bring some joy.


(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

His big chance came in the previous game against Venezuela, and you wonder how different things might have been if Gimenez had simply scored across the face of goal in Los Angeles.

The 23-year-old has not been able to maintain his form in international football after a string of impressive performances in a Feyenoord jersey. Obviously, Mexico will question the decision to leave two experienced strikers in Henry Martin and Raul Jimenez at home. But the quality of Mexico's attacking play generally means that any centre-forward would struggle to make much of an impact here.

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The interesting case of Santiago Gimenez: wanted in Europe but struggling in the Copa

What went wrong in Mexico?

The disappointment would last for some time for Mexico, whose hopes of reaching the Copa America quarter-finals ended in predictable fashion.

It was predictable, as Mexico did very little attacking, their only goal of the tournament coming from left-back Gerardo Arteaga in the opener against Jamaica, which now seems a long time ago.

Defeat against Venezuela, when Orbelin Pineda missed a penalty, meant El Tri would have to beat Ecuador to advance – a result that looked unlikely in a game that exposed Mexico's limitations. They worked hard but the lack of quality was evident.

Mexico failed to advance past the group stage in the 2011 and 2015 Copa America tournaments, but this latest setback will leave them heartbroken. At first glance, Mexico played out a decent draw, yet they were unable to get past two second-tier CONMEBOL nations.

All eyes will now be on Jaime Lozano, who has been given assurances he will remain in the role until the end of the 2026 World Cup. Will a group stage exit here necessitate a rethink?

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Johan Vasquez is disappointed after Mexico's elimination (Chris Coduto/AFP via Getty Images)

What's next for each team?

Argentina vs Ecuador — Thursday, July 4, 9:00 pm ET (NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas)

Mexico is eliminated from the tournament.

What did the managers say?

Ecuador coach Félix Sánchez said on facing Argentina: “They are the reigning world champions, Copa América champions, and they have the best players in the world, who play at the best clubs in the world. They have a solid group, and under the same coach (Lionel Scaloni) they have developed a clear idea… We have to play a perfect game, but we will go into it motivated. It's 11 vs 11 and we are going to do everything we can.”

Mexico coach Jaime Lozano said of their future: “Whenever you don't achieve your goal there are always doubts, but if the players believed until the end there is a reason, it is not easy to create that solidarity, this circle and this commitment that they maintained for seven weeks before and during this competition. There is a process and other people will decide what happens next but for me it is clear that we went out and were heroes.”

On what is missing for Mexico, Lozano said: “We have improved a lot defensively, but now we have to find balance and work on patience, on the final touch in the attacking third. We have learned a lot from these players in this tournament and it is an experience that will help us.”

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(Top photo: Chris Kuduto/AFP via Getty Images)

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