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Mexico open U-20 World Cup with last minute win over tiny Vanuatu

Mexico beat amateur side Vanautu 3-2 and look to have doomed their chances in this U-20 World Cup

Mexico needed a last minute goal to beat Vanuatu 3-2 in what might be the worst Mexican win in U-20 World Cup history. A Vanuatu team that didn't even have a single player from their semipro league was able to score twice and Mexico trouble. El Tri took a 2-0 lead after two goalkeeping mistakes, only for the Vanuatuans to draw level in the second half. Only Vanuatu's lack of fitness helped Mexico get the win and will now face the two tougher teams in the group.

The first half had a Mexican team that was clearly superior but didn't show a great level of play. Mexico always looked dangerous but the supposed cohesion the team should have because of playing together for so long was nowhere to be seen. A lot of bad passes and lost balls were had as Vanuatu absorbed pressure and pressed back. Eventually, however, Kevin Magaña opened the scoring when he was left wide open to head the ball home. He headed it straight into the keeper, who bobbled the ball into the net in an incredible blooper.

Then another goalkeeper mistake gifted them the second goal. Antuna was once again given time and miss-hit the cross, only for the keeper to go for the ball and once again bobble it straight into the path of Ronaldo Cisneros. The CONCACAF U020 Tournament Golden Boot winner then scored into the open net.

The rest of the half was almost all Mexico but Vanuatu had some runs, with Mexico at times looking to be losing the physical battle. While they dominated the game, they failed to create much chances, and to go into halftime with just two goals scored was totally justified.

The second half continued with Mexico dominating but in a total surprise, a mistake by Mexico's defenders left Bong Kalo wide open to score the 2-1. Then a couple of minutes later, a long range shot by Ronaldo Wilkins tied the score, to the total shock of everyone.

It was until the second goal that Mexico started to show a lot of urgency but it also exposed the fact that the only offensive strategy was sending balls to Antuna. To make matters worse, the team totally fell apart, and although they created chances, Cisneros and company wasted them all. To the total surprise of everyone, Chima Ruiz subbed out Antuna, who had been the best player, for Kevin Lara. While Antuna had not been precise, he was by far the best player and Lara didn't add much difference, with the team being more imprecise and showing their lack of mental fortitude.

In the last minute of play, and after a Vanuatu player had fallen down of exhaustion but the ref didn't stop the play, Lara finally found another player that wasn't Cisneros in the area. Defender Edson Alvarez got the ball and scored in a shot that was a lot better that any of the ones the offensive players in Mexico had done in the second half.

The last minute goal saved Mexico from a result that would have been a historic disaster but it still leaves with what should be considered their worst win in a WC competition ever. Vanuatu has all their players in the local Vanuatu league and is of a caliber of a small CONCACAF island. Yet they were a minute away from getting a tie against Mexico. The one goal win also now totally complicates Mexico’s chances to get one of the best third place spots and to do something in a group where Venezuela and Germany already showed to be totally superior to Vanuatu and even better than Mexico. Getting a last minute win against what might be on paper, the worst team that Mexico has ever faced in a U-20 World cup might be the low point of a steep decline since Mexico's third place spot in the 2011 U-20 World Cup. Mexico will now face Germany, who after the loss to Venezuela, is facing a must win game.