Mexico, Uruguay set to tangle for U-17 World Cup crown after semifinal victories

Gomez (Reuters Pictures)

By DAVID MOSSE

The last time Mexico reached this final of the Under-17 World Cup back in 2005, another South American country stood in its way, but Giovani dos Santos and Co. made short work of Brazil, notching a comprehensive 3-0 victory. Uruguay is the opponent this time around after Fabian Coito's side stunned the Brazilians to advance to the final of the competition for the first time.

Mexico is back in the final after stunning Germany, which had been the most impressive team so far,  brushing aside opponents with relative ease. Steffen Freund's side met its match on Thursday, though, in a thrilling seesaw battle that ended when Julio Gomez scored in stoppage time to give Mexico a 3-2 win with a 90th-minute bicycle kick. (Full highlights can be seen here).

When the Germans took the lead in the second half through Emre Can they looked set to break the hearts of a lively crowd in Torreon, but Gomez played the role of hero. His collision with a German defender allowed Jorge Espericueta's corner to sail into the back of the net and also resulted in Gomez being stretchered off with a head injury. He eventually returned to score a goal for the ages.

The 16-year-old Gomez connected on a spectacular overhead kick to send his team into the final and the entire stadium into delirium. A second U-17 triumph in six years would stamp Mexico as one of the rising powers in international soccer, and while Uruguay represents a very dangerous opponent, it is difficult to imagine the hosts squandering this opportunity to make history.

The Celeste continue to display remarkable resourcefulness in attack, though, making the most of limited chances in its 3-0 victory over Brazil. Elbio Alvarez converted a first-half penalty to break the deadlock, while Juan San Martin and Guillermo Mendez struck after the break to seal a famous victory. Jim Varela will be back from suspension on Sunday for Uruguay, which faces a daunting task in trying to knock off the hosts.

Brazil enjoyed most of the possession on Thursday and created far more scoring opportunities, but Uruguay's stingy defense came through once again with goalkeeper Jonathan Cubero turning in a sensational performance. Both Ademilson and Lucas Piazon were denied several times, while the absence of Adryan through suspension proved too much to overcome.

Here is a closer look at the remaining matchups:

THIRD-PLACE GAME

Brazil vs. Germany, Sunday, 4 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3.com/Galavision

Brazil and Germany expected to meet under different circumstances on Sunday, but both teams paid the price for slack defending in their respective semifinals, and they will be merely playing for pride. Adryan returns from suspension, so Emerson Avila will finally be able to field his standout attacking trio again with the Flamengo playmaker partnering Ademilson and Lucas Piazon.

The question is whether Brazil's back line, which appeared so solid earlier in the tournament but collapsed in the past two games, can possibly contain the German attack. Freund's side has scored 20 goals in five games with Samed Yesil leading the way. Yesil found the back of the net for the sixth time against Mexico, while Can represents a dangerous weapon as well.

FINAL

Uruguay vs. Mexico, Sunday, 7 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3.com/Galavision

Mexico is poised to capture its second Under-17 World Cup title, but Raul Gutierrez's side must come down quickly from the elation of knocking off Germany, because Uruguay will be very tough to beat. The South Americans have conceded just three times in five games and are extremely resourceful in attack with Santiago Charamoni and Rodrigo Aguirre posing a significant threat.

Carlos Fierro has received most of the attention for Mexico, but Gomez emerged as the hero on Thursday and is another weapon Uruguay must contend with. Arturo Gonzalez and Marco Bueno are dangerous weapons as well, while Antonio Briseno anchors the back-line. FC Dallas Homegrown Player Richard Sanchez has experienced shaky moments in goal, but the hosts are certainly the favorites.

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Who do you see winning the U-17 World Cup final? Wat about the third-place game? Which players have impressed you the most in this tournament?

This entry was posted in Mexican Soccer, Under-17 World Cup. Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Mexico, Uruguay set to tangle for U-17 World Cup crown after semifinal victories

  1. BenH says:

    That Germany – Mexico game was the tits!

    So much action; ridiculous.

    Wonder if they’ll sell out Azteca?

  2. wides in MN says:

    Guess Mexico hasn’t heard all the news about concussion injuries ? :)

    Great goal though

  3. kimo says:

    What’s with players of all ages surrounding the refs? It’s out of control. The designated captain should be the only one allowed to speak…otherwise..automatic penalties.

  4. CRewl says:

    That was a great game. Too bad for the German players somebody had to lose.

  5. ag says:

    Gotta wonder with what’s happening at the Copa and at the youth level whether there is a bit of a power shift going on in South American football.

  6. jonk says:

    I’m not about to crown Mexico kings of concacaf just yet, but this latest result suggests a handful of these kids might make a similar impact as the 2005 team in a few years. I sure hope our boys are ready for a rough decade.

  7. Eric120 says:

    Playing Mexico at Azteca is always extremely difficult for ANY team, let alone a group of under-17 kids (even if they are playing another group of kids). I won’t count them out yet, but I wonder how well the Uruguayans will handle the pressure.

    And, yes, I’m sure it’s going to be sold out.

  8. John says:

    What power shift? Uruguay dominated World football before Brazilians even knew what a soccer ball looked like.

    The biggest success of Brazil of the past years is convincing people they still play with flair. The whole Jogo Bonito is a farce. They haven’t played like that since 86.

  9. pd says:

    Uruguay hasn’t been a dominant force in football since the 50′s. Glad to see the resurgence, but would love to get a peak at their development system. Didn’t see Mex vs. Ger but was amazed at how Ger absolutely dominated Eng and US… Unless they had an off day that’s saying something that Mex was able to hang defensively.

  10. John says:

    Awesome for Mexico – their goalie played for

    the same youth club as my son – so it is very cool even though it is mexico.

  11. John says:

    You mean FC Dallas?

  12. John says:

    You mean FC Dallas?

  13. BenH says:

    Goalie is still in FCD! Good stuff. Hope he’s learning from El Gato.

  14. Mike Caramba says:

    Seriously? Uruguay had one win at the World Cup in the last 40 years, before 2010. I hardly think two wins in the infancy of the World Cup qualified them as modern South American powers. Clearly if they were to take the reigns of CONMEBOL (and I’m not saying they are), it would be a shift of power.

  15. AJ says:

    That’s ok, they already crowned themselves recently, it’s called the Gold Cup.

  16. AJ says:

    That’s cool.

  17. marco says:

    A great victory for Mexico in knocking off the best side. They showed great skill and desire. Two of Mexico’s goals were because the German kids on the posts failed to play their position properly, but both goals were spectacular.

  18. Judging Amy says:

    Great heart from the young Mexico team to battle back. Awful time management from the ref. The Germans were rightfully pissed for complaining about him not giving more stoppage time after the Mex goalie went down.

  19. CILII_blog says:

    Dear Mexico,

    How do you guys produce so many good youth players?

    Sincerely,

    USA

  20. Mexico says:

    Dear USA,

    Projecto 2014.

    Sincerely,

    Mexico

  21. John says:

    I think a lot has to do with making out of poverty as motivation vs growing up in the suburbs and aiming for a college scholarship as motivation.

  22. AL says:

    Dear US:
    Development before results.
    Winning at a young age is not as important to us as the overall development of our players.
    We hope this helps.
    Attn. Mexico

  23. AJ says:

    I was worried about the kid, but he obviously had a lot of heart and cared more about the team. True display of personal sacrifice.

  24. AJ says:

    Marco, we can go on and on about the reasons for the goals. I can say that the first German goal was a result of a shaky goalie. What’s the point?

  25. Goalscorer24 says:

    I can’t see Mexico not winning the final with the home crowd behind them. I hate to say it, but Mexico is producing the right type of players, where as the US is going backwards.

    I don’t see the possibility of Mexico winning the Men’s World Cup in the near future as an outrageous thought. The US on the other hand… Some serious changes need to occur to right the US ship.

  26. AJ says:

    To a certain extent, although a lot of good players have come from wealthy upbringings as well.

  27. AJ says:

    The World Cup is a LONG tournament. Any team can beat any other team on any given day but to win the World Cup a team needs to survive a long, tiring and brutal road. Spain lost there first match but despite that, they stayed focus. I get tired just thinking about it.

  28. John says:

    If you are talking about richer kids who are sons of former players than yes. But besides maybe Kaka, middle class superstar players are rare in Latin America.

  29. Alex says:

    C’mon John the only other time Uruguay ever had an impact on the WC other than 2010 was back when only 4 teams participated in the tournament and teams traveled by boat to get to the host country.

  30. Brett says:

    They do a great job developing players who play the game fast and with good technical skill. But the teams that win the World Cup usually have physicality and tactical organization on their side. Mexico has yet to develop these types of players consistently.

  31. Goalscorer24 says:

    But the teams that win more consistantly will rise to the top. Sure the US can pull out an upset against a team. I am just saying that currently Mexico is turning into the type of team that is consistently playing at a better level then the US.

  32. bryan says:

    man, that was a crazy game. as a US fan and German fan, i’m realllly sick of mexico right now! haha

    but that took a lot of heart for him to come back and score the winner in stoppage time. as for the final, Azteca will be sold out, Mexico will win.

  33. ThaDeuce says:

    Yes, this could be a Mexi-dominant decade for sure. I like a good rivalry, and a good one has ebbs and flows. No one stays on top forever.

  34. John says:

    No not FCD – the one he played for when he got noticed by Athletico Madrid – just two years ago – he went to Athletico to FCD

  35. Kwall says:

    What was up? Why did they surround him? What did they want?

  36. AJ says:

    I agree.

  37. mistadobolina says:

    they are defiantly getting better faster than we are.. but thats not to say that the USA has a lot of great talent on the way. the USA-Mexico rivalry will continue to be one the best in the world!

    the best thing possible for this continent is MLS. the stronger the league gets the better mexico, usa, honduras, CR, canada, jamaica etc. will all be.

    as for S.A. teams other than Brazil and Argentina becoming world powers; we need to have a combined North and South American tournament sometime!!!

  38. Mr. Fua says:

    It was just announced that the game has sold out.

  39. CaliGringo says:

    Don’t understand why Mexican fans are such poor sports – booing and hissing at the German team every time they touched the ball. FIFA should considered this in making decisions about where to host tournaments, which also goes for any US vs. Mexico game in the USA.

  40. ARTES says:

    I think the German players were upset about the extra time given. Ref gave 5 minutes but with the two injuries and the other German player being hurt after the 90th minute they probably wanted more time they could have used to try to come back.

  41. Mark says:

    LOL. you have never been to soccer game outside of the US have you?

  42. KevinL says:

    “His collision with a German defender allowed Jorge Espericueta’s corner to sail into the back of the net and also resulted in Gomez being stretchered off with a head injury. ”
    The replays show clearly that the ball was well past them when they collided.
    Mexico’s stadiums look a lot nicer than Argentina’s in Copa America. They have done a great job of hosting.
    Maybe the success at the youth level is allowing El Tri to finally get past their bugaboo of giving up in games when they get behind. It certainly does not seem to be a problem in 2011!

  43. AJ says:

    Agreed with that “collision allowed the goal” comment. Honestly, I would like the biased American media to once tell it like it is rather than take cheap shots at a team that worked hard to get where it is.

  44. CACuzcatlan says:

    They also won the Olympic gold twice before the World Cup. They were the dominant team of the 20s, without a shadow of a doubt. Just because it happened a long time ago, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t count.

  45. CACuzcatlan says:

    Why defiantly? Who are they defying? I haven’t heard many people say they are not worthy or good enough.

  46. Federico says:

    BenH:

    It sold out in 24 hours.

  47. Hmmm says:

    I wonder if Mexico has a Brandenton-style academy for youth national teams.

    No.

    These kids only get to play together for friendlies and major tournaments. They all train with their clubs, and the chivas academy has been producing some good talent lately.

  48. Mike Caramba says:

    Who said anything about those not counting? I didn’t say they were never a power (they clearly were) — I said they haven’t been a power for at least 40 years, so if they found themselves on top of CONMEBOL, it would be regarded as a power shift.

  49. BenH says:

    Unrelated to soccer, but related to Mexico – Germany.

    One of my twitter feeds stated there’s a football (as in ‘American’ football) world cup going on right now? And Mexico beat Germany 22-15. I’ve never heard of this.

  50. Juan from L.A. says:

    Simple its passion. They live and play soccer in the streets and see it and wear the jersey wholeheartedly. Unlike US kids who have three other more important sports to look up to ($$$, tradition, etc) and soccer is just a weekend thing to go to and play for one hour and that’s it. Passion something unless you are from anotehr country you have no idea what it means.

  51. Juan from L.A. says:

    Another possible golden generation in the works for Mexico. Their U-20 is better than ours, their U-22 is already getting games and has a coach. This U-17 will be better as they develop to be U-20 due to this experience and talent wise. So it will be pretty tough for the US and there is no doubt Mexico will dominate (d-o-m-i-n-a-t-e) the region in the next 10 years. Sure this U-17 generation is not as good as the U-17 of Vela and Gio but who cares. They will ship out 4 of them to quality teams in Europe due to their success and the from the get-go they have a WINNING mentality unlike us. Plus they have heart. What a damn good game they put on yesterday against the Germans that made up to this point any Copa America game look like garbage which it is.

    Meanwhile I wake up and all is good in US land with BB still our coach…:roll eyes:

  52. Wesley says:

    Olimpic goal and bicycle kick goal for Mexico.

  53. Dennis says:

    Mexico does not have a plan for soccer development other than let kids who have passion play. BB would love it if kids in the USA played soccer 7 days a week. They do not (at least not enough of them). No coach can make them do that. It is family, friends and culture that are much bigger influences.

  54. derp says:

    guess you missed the kicker article where the German team were applauded by a few hundred Mexican fans once they returned to their hotel.

    Seriously, would anyone ever question a crowd acting the same way at a OU-Texas game football game or a duke-north carolina basketball game or any other rivalry game, what are home fans supposed to do, just sit on their hands?

  55. beachbum says:

    awesome third goal.

    what about Mexico’s second goal…what happened?