Mexico will try to reach the semifinals of the U-20 World Cup when they face England in the Quarterfinals. Mexico will once again be the underdogs as they face a surprising English team that is still undefeated and playing well. Mexico has had a rough tournament but are coming in after giving their best performance of the tournament so far, after beating Senegal in the Round of 16. Against England, El Tri will be facing a very fast and physical team that will have a lot better organization than Senegal did.
Mexico's performance overall has been more disappointing than not. Their group stage experience was a letdown in every game. They needed a last minute win against Vanuatu, the worst team of the tournament, and then tied a German team that was as bad as any German team possible. They then lost to Venezuela in a game they were clearly dominated, although Venezuela has turned out to be the revelation of the tournament. They then came as total underdogs against Senegal, a team that hadn't been playing well but looked to be a terrible match up for Mexico. Surprisingly, Mexico was able to win and played their best game of the tournament, although it has to be said that Senegal played worse than expected. Senegal were offensively disorganized, and despite winning the physical and speed battles constantly, they would eventually sabotage every attack. Mexico looked to have a turnaround when Senegal went down 10 men, but play didn't change until coach Chima Ruiz subbed in Diego Aguilar and Ronaldo Cisneros, who combined for the goal to win the game. While Mexico did improve and deserved the win, they still looked far from a top contender and the team still looks like lacking cohesion and below average passing.
England’s tournament has been the complete opposite to Mexico. While many people didn't expect them to have a great tournament, as they left many good players back home because of club commitments, they played great and got results. They crushed Argentina in their first game 3-0. Although Argentina, like Germany, were a disappointing team and didn't bring as good a squad as expected, a 3-0 win is still not easy. England then tied Guinea, after a terrible mistake by their defense in an own goal play, but bounced back to beat the hosts South Korea. They then proceeded to bounce out Costa Rica in the Round of 16, in a match that they totally dominated and were never in doubt of losing. Beating Costa Rica also means that they are coming in from facing a team that has one of the closest styles to Mexico's. England are set to be by far Mexico's toughest challenge as they are riding high and look prepared.
Mexico's play has been below par, but results wise they have exceeded expectations. Because of their draw and some luck in their path, they have benefited and taken advantage of it, but they will now face another team that looks to be a bad match up for them. England is a speedy and physical team that is much better organized than Senegal and without the Achilles heel that doomed them.
Still, Mexico looks to be improving. They will now be hoping for another upset if they hope to reach the Semifinals for the first time since 2011, a tournament where they had it much worse in the quarterfinal game (facing host Colombia, who were having a great tournament) and were able to shock everyone. Hopefully lighting will strike twice for them.
Date: Monday, June 5
Time: 4:00 AM Pacific, 6:00 AM Central, 7:00 AM Eastern
Venue: Cheonan Stadium, Cheonan
Television: Telemundo (US-Spanish), Fox Sports 1 (US), TDN (Mexico), Azteca 7 (Mexico),