Mexico's hopes for another wildly successful 2011 FIFA youth tournament begin on Friday, which marks the opening day of the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia. The most intriguing match-up of the competition's first day looks to be the Group F showdown between Mexico and Argentina at Estadio Atanasio Girardot in Medellin.
Up to this point, 2011 has been a very successful year for Mexico's U-20 team, highlighted by their championship campaign this spring in the CONCACAF U-20 Tournament. Manager Juan Carlos Chavez leads a squad loaded with attacking talent, and one that has grown together as a group over the past year. Unfortunately, the massive achievements of the younger U-17 national team earlier this summer may have inadvertently increased the pressure a bit on this group.
While Mexico are not one of the favorites to lift the trophy in Colombia (Brazil, Spain, and France seem to be the leading picks), the team certainly is talented enough to at least advance to the knockout stages. One huge strength for El Tri will be their wealth of talent at the striker position. Alan Pulido, Ulises Davila, and Taufic Guarch have all figured prominently up front for Mexico over the past year. The team is also now further bolstered by the addition of young Chivas star Erick "Cubo" Torres. With Chavez partial to an attacking 3-4-3 formation, goal scoring shouldn't be a problem with this group.
While not nearly as talented as the bunch up top, Mexico also has a solid core of talent in the midfield, including Carlos Orrantia and Jorge Enriquez. On the backline the team is led by Club America's Diego Reyes and Cruz Azul's Nestor Araujo, along with Kristian Alvarez, another young Chivas talent.
The road to the knockout stages certainly won't be an easy one. After the match against Argentina, Mexico must face North Korea on Monday August 1st, followed by England on Thursday August 4th. It would be a huge first step towards advancement if Mexico could find a way claim a result on Friday against Argentina.
See below for information on the opening match, as well as Mexico's full roster list.
Mexico vs. Argentina
Venue: Estadio Atanasio Girardot, Medellín
Game time: 6:30 pm ET, 5:30 pm local
Television: Galavision, ESPN3 (online)
Mexico U-20 Roster
1 Jose Rodriguez - Chivas
12 Carlos Lopez Rubio - Talleres de Cordoba
21 Julio Gonzalez Vela - Santos Laguna
2 Kristian Alvarez - Chivas
3 Hector Acosta - Toluca
4 Nestor Araujo - Cruz Azul
15 Cesar Ibanez - Atlas
16 Jorge Valencia - Tigres
18 Diego Reyes - America
5 Diego De Buen - Pumas
6 Marvin Pinon - Monterrey
7 Saul Villalobos - Atlas
8 Carlos Orrantia - Pumas
13 Lugiani Gallardo - America
14 Jorge Enriquez - Chivas
9 Taufic Guarch - Tecos
10 Erick "Cubo" Torres - Chivas
11 Ulises Davila - Chivas
17 Alan Pulido - Tigres
19 Edson Rivera - Atlas
20 David Izazola- Pumas