Mexico will try to make history by going for their third U-17 World Cup title and also keeping the record of being the only hosts to win a U-17 World Cup when they face Brazil. Mexico will once again be the underdogs in their match, as they face a tough host team who arrives to this final after having defeated what most people considered the top team in this competition, France, in the Semifinals.
Mexico have history on their side as they have never lost a final to Brazil, and in fact, three of the four biggest titles in Mexican soccer history have been in finals against Brazil (1999 Confederations Cup, 2005 U-17 WC and 2012 Olympics Gold Medal). But that’s about the only thing they will have in their favor on Sunday. Should they win, they will tie Brazil in second place with the most U-17 WC titles.
Prior to this tournament, Mexico wasn’t one of the favorites and many people had doubts about coach Marco Antonio Ruiz’s goal of finishing in the top 4. However, the team rose to meet those expectations, and although they haven’t been one of the most offensive minded teams in the competition, they have gotten the job done. In particular, Mexico wasn’t favored against Japan in the Round of 16 or the Netherlands in the Semifinals, but they won on the backs of sold defensive efforts and good coaching.
That being said they are heavy underdogs against Brazil. While Mexico did beat the Netherlands, to most neutral observers it was the Dutch who came closer to getting the win before the equalizing goal forced the first (and so far only) penalty shootout of the tournament. And while beating the Netherlands was a huge rise to the occasion, it wasn’t as big as the one Brazil did in beating a superior French team who had a 2-0 lead 20 minutes into the match. With a home crowd that might have already influenced things before (had it been another team besides the hosts, the tying goal against France might have been ruled a non-goal because the ball left the field of play) Mexico will have the toughest situation so far in a very tough tournament.
For now, this team has already has had a historic performance and has given a lot of hope for the future, especially in areas where Mexico’s future had been lacking promise (defense). To get to the title, Mexico will need to play a perfect game and players like goalkeeper Eduardo Garcia and Jesus Gomez and Victor Guzman at defense must rise up to their already high level. No matter the result, Mexico has made history with their fourth U-17 World Cup Final and they will hope to once again be a Brazilian spoiler just like in their first title in the 2005 U-17 Final, in which they won the game against the CONMEBOL giants in South America after a semifinal victory over the Netherlands and prior to an NFL game being played in Estadio Azteca.
Date: Sunday, November 17
Time: 2:00pm Pacific, 4:00pm Central, 5:00pm Eastern
Venue: Estadio Bezerrão, Brasilia, Brazil
TV: Telemundo (US-Español), NBC Universo (US-Español), Fox Sports 2 (US-English), TUDN (Mexico), SporTV (Brazil)
Listings via LiveSoccerTV.com