Mexico will hope to get their first win against a tough Italy side in their second game in the U-17 World Cup. Mexico had a tough hard fought scoreless draw against Paraguay in their World Cup opener. They will face an Italian side that cruised in their opener against Solomon Islands (possibly the weakest side in the tournament) for a 5-0 win, and a win would guarantee their place in the knockout stage. Mexico last faced Italy in the 2013 U-17 World Cup and defeated them 2-0 in the Round of 16 in their path toward their second place finish in the competition.
Mexico’s debut against Paraguay had a split take from many fans. While Mexico looked solid in defense, they failed to have an offensive spark and got bogged down against a Paraguay team that was feisty in defense. Mexico went down a man after Eugenio Pizzuto got red carded and then rose to the occasion, playing better and more inspired and for the first time looking like the better team. They will have their work cut out against an Italian side that looks to be the best of the group and will have to do it without a key player in Pizzuto, who will miss the game because of the red card suspension.
Italy cruised to a 5-0 win against the Solomon Islands. They totally dominated the match, but perhaps should have done even better as they missed a lot of clear chances. Many Italian players tried to take advantage of the weakness of their rivals and selfishly tried to score goals, but instead wasted their opportunities. They should face a huge increase of difficulty against Mexico, and sometimes teams suffer in such an increase of difficulty, especially youth teams. Italy might be favored, but so far, all three teams in the group besides Solomon Islands look pretty even.
Mexico should have a tough task but it needs to try to get their first win of the competition. The fact that the top four third placed teams also qualify to the knockout rounds means Mexico is almost assured of a spot with a solid win against the Solomon Islands in their final game. But if they are trying to get a top-four overall finish, as Coach Marco Antonio Ruiz stated as the goal of the team in the World Cup, they will need to start facing competition like Italy and doing well against them.
Date: Thursday, October 31
Time: 4:00pm Pacific, 6:00pm Central, 7:00pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Bezerrão, Brasilia, Brasil
TV: NBC Universo (US-Español), Fox Sports 2 (US-English)
Streaming: fuboTV (Free trial + monthly subscription)
Listings via LiveSoccerTV.com