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Mexico and Raul Jimenez Must Offer More in Copa America After Bolivia Bore Draw

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJune 13, 2015

Mexico's Raul Jimenez reacts after missing a chance to score during a Copa America Group A soccer match against Bolivia at the Sausalito Stadium in Vina del Mar, Chile, Friday, June 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

He had a good look, but that's about as close as it got. Referee Enrique Caceres was on the scene but waved away Javier Aquino's appeal for a penalty.

Edward Zenteno barely made any contact with the Mexican, and he was already falling to the turf before the Bolivian defender tried to make his challenge.

Mexico had one other penalty appeal, too, when Javier Guemez had his legs swept from beneath him by Marcelo Moreno Martins. This was a foul, technically. If the referee had pointed to the spot, there could be no complaints by Bolivia, even though the ball had run out of the midfielder's control.

But even for a depleted Mexico, complaining about just one legitimate shout for a penalty against Bolivia is not a good situation to be in.

Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press
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After all, their opponents have not won a game at the Copa America since 1997. Albeit not quite as weak as some think, Mauricio Soria's side still pose little threat to their Copa America Group A opponents.

That said, the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock on Friday night was when Martins struck the post with an effort in the first half.

It reflects badly on Mexico that the most entertaining moment of their opening Copa America display was the sight of their coach, Miguel Herrera, raging on the sidelines after Aquino's penalty claim was rightfully turned down.

Known as "The Bug," the coach is not a calm character, and he raised eyebrows with his arguably excessive celebrations at the World Cup.

Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

Herrera had little to celebrate here. Atletico Madrid forward Raul Jimenez was sent on in the second half, and his header was inches wide of the far post.

The striker has plenty to prove both here with his national team and also back in the Spanish capital, as he tries to earn more game time under Diego Simeone.

Mexico's outstanding performer on the night, FC Twente's Jesus Corona Ruiz, had delivered a wonderful cross from the left that Jimenez met, but his nodded effort fell fractionally off target.

The forward's introduction gave some much-needed spark, although it was not sufficient for El Tri to get the win they craved.

Of course, Mexico are missing their finest players. Javier Hernandez and Guillermo Ochoa, among others, have been kept in reserve for the upcoming Gold Cup.

Former Manchester City attacker Matias Vuoso—not that he ever played for the club—had a shot blocked as his side tried to eke out a victory.

Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

It leaves them in a tricky spot given their next game is against hosts Chile, who seem in the mood to go deep in this tournament.

Mexico have been invited to this tournament since 1993 as one of the guests, but despite various impressive performances since then, on this occasion it seems they really are only here to make up the numbers.

That is a sentiment that would rile some of the members of the squad, who see this as an opportunity to shine in front of the coach that they don't always get.

Jimenez will hope he did enough in his cameo to earn a start in the next game, although he will know that would just be the beginning of what he needs to deliver if Mexico are to progress to the latter phases of this tournament.

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