Thanks to a fantastic all-around performance from start to finish, Mexico have defeated Uruguay by a final score of 2-0 to become the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup champions for the second time in their history. El Tri's Sub-17 side were the slightly better side in a cracker of a match for the entire 90 minutes, and deserve their victory. While Uruguay were very good and gave them a game for 90 minutes, the difference was finishing. Mexico had it tonight, while Uruguay could not put any of their great chances into the back of the net.
The first half started off slowly, with both teams struggling to find their footing. Playing in a major final in front of 105,000 people is obviously a massive occasion for anyone, so it's not surprising that a group of 22 teenagers started the game out playing nervously. It took until the 23rd minute for any real action to happen, but once the game picked up, it turned into a cracker.
Sadly, the first real action of the game happened when Uruguay striker Rodrigo Aguirre and Mexican keeper Richard Sanchez clashed heads in the box. Aguirre got the much nastier end of the collision, as he appeared to be unconscious as he was stretchered off the pitch. Juan San Martin was substituted on as a replacement.
Uruguay got the first clear cut scoring chance of the match, but squandered it in the 27th minute. Following a set piece for Mexico, Uruguay got out on the counter attack and found themselves with a three-on-two breakaway. Elbio Alvarez had a clean look on goal, but put it just wide. Two minutes later, a similar sequence happened on the other end, as Sergio Bueno made a good run before cutting the ball back towards the penalty spot for Carlos Fierro, who missed his shot just wide.
Mexico found their goal in the 31st minute, with Fierro the architect. The Chivas striker ran onto a deep cross to the far post, heading it back across the face of goal. Captain Antonio Briseño of Atlas made a late run into the box and was unmarked, allowing him to get to the ball and put a header into the back of the net past Jonathan Cubero.
Both teams would have one more great opportunity before the half let out. Alvarez had another great scoring opportunity for Uruguay in the 34th minute, but his low shot from 20 yards out bounced off the far post and harmlessly clear. In the 42nd minute, Fierro tried a cheeky curling shot to the far post after spotting Cubero off his line, but missed by less than a foot. When the teams headed into halftime, it looked like anyone's game, despite Mexico's lead.
The second half started much like the first, with the teams more or less feeling each other out at the beginning. Uruguay's first chance of the half and perhaps their best chance of the game came in the 61st minute, when San Martin found himself in front of goal with the ball at his feet. He couldn't line it up, though, and hit the post as Uruguay's biggest chance went begging.
In the 63rd minute, Julio Gomez entered the match, replacing Jose Tostado, much to the delight of the crowd, many of whom were wearing bandages on their heads in salute to the hero who scored the match winner in the semifinal against Germany. He wouldn't produce any kind of spectacular heroics this time around, but he still played an excellent half hour of football for El Tri.
Alvarez created another big chance for Uruguay in the 69th minute, taking a rip for 20 yards out, but Sanchez came up big with a fantastic save. It would be the last real chance of the game for Alvarez, who played a fantastic game for Uruguay and was unlucky not to score a goal.
The 82nd minute produced a massive scramble in the box on a set piece, setting up multiple shooting opportunities for El Tri. A total of four shots were either blocked or saved, with Uruguay somehow avoiding disaster. Two minutes afterwards, Fierro hit a screamer over the bar in what would be his last act of the game. His club teammate and super sub Giovani Casillas replaced him in a move that would prove to be an intelligent one.
With Uruguay committing numbers forward to try and find an equalizer, Mexico were able to add an insurance goal in stoppage time to seal a 2-0 victory and cap off a fantastic performance. On the counter-attack, Casillas and Arturo Gonzalez took off, creating a two-on-one opportunity. Gonzalez held the ball for just the right amount of time before passing to Casillas, who scored his third goal of the tournament with a great low shot to the far post.
When the final whistle blew just two minutes later, the Estadio Azteca erupted with joy. For the second time in six years, Mexico are the champions of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, and they've done it with a flawless record.