Entering Saturday’s FIFA U-17 World Cup match between Group C foes Mexico and Germany, Germany had looked like one of the front runners of the tournament after opening their play in Chile with a 4-1 over Australia and following that with an even more impressive 4-0 drubbing of Argentina.
Mexico also started the tournament on a good note when it beat Argentina 2-0 in an entertaining, back and forth battle. In the second match, they found themselves in a battle with Australia, but were not able to take advantage of their first half chances and allowed the Soccroos to take the game to them in the second half. After all was said and done, the match ended 0-0.
With two wins from two matches, Germany would top the group with a win or a draw. Mexico needed a win to top the group. The first half saw Germany take the game to Mexico, as El Tri looked fine with letting the European side have the majority of the ball and risked little. On offense, Mexico also decided to not push up as many people on the attack as they did in their previous two games as they showed respect for Germany and their attacking power.
After having control for most of the first half, it wasn’t till the end of the half that Germany was able to create a good chance on goal. In the 41st minute, they were able to get behind the defense until a last ditch slide from Pablo Lopez ended the attack.
In the second half, Germany again looked like the stronger team out of the gates but struggled to create any real chances. Finally in the 58th minute, after some good ball movement and a solid build up, Lopez of Mexico hit a well struck shot from outside the area that found the back of the net to give Mexico a 1-0 lead.
Germany would get back on the ball to try and find an equalizer, but Mexico was very sound on defense as they cut down the angles and gaps that Germany had been able to create the two games earlier. In the 65th minute, Mexico would take advantage of another chance when Francisco Venegas would find the back of the net off a throw in to double their lead. Germany responded quickly two minutes later after finally breaking down the Mexican back line. Yet, they found themselves unable to break Mexico down again, and they were able to see out the upset and win the group.
After three games, Mexico tops Group C with seven points, while Germany finishes second with six points. In their final group game, Australia topped Argentina 2-1 to leave them with four points and in a great position to move on into the knockout stage. Argentina finishes the U-17 World Cup with zero points and three losses out of three games.
In the knockout stage Germany will face off against Croatia, who finished second in Group A. Mexico will wait till the final two groups to play but will face off against the third place team of Group A or Group F. Australia will also have to wait to see if and who they play, but there is a good chance they will play Nigeria.