Mexico got a very comfortable group in the draw for the 2019 U-17 World Cup to be held in Brazil. Mexico was placed in the group along with the Solomon Islands, the team everybody wanted in their group and are now primed to get at least a best third-place finish. Along with Solomon Islands, Mexico will face Italy and Paraguay in Group F where Mexico was seeded as the winner of the 2019 CONCACAF Championship earlier this year. Mexico will open their World Cup against Paraguay on October 28th. They will then face Italy on October 31th. Both games will be played in the city of Gama. Finally, Mexico will travel to Cariacica to close out their group facing the weakest side of the group, and probably the whole World Cup, the Solomon Islands on November 3th.
After being a powerhouse in the U-17 category, with two World Cup wins, a second-place and fourth-place finish all since 2005, Mexico will need to bounce back after a very disappointing 2017 U-17 World Cup. With a talented squad led by Diego Lainez, Mexico failed to win a single game. Mexico went through to the Round of 16 as one of the best third-place teams, product of two ties against Iraq (1-1) and Chile (0-0). They then faced Iran and lost 2-1 to end their run in the tournament. They should be able to make it far if they are able to live to expectations this year. Mexico will face a tough Italian side that finished in second-place of the Euro U-17 tournament, losing the final against the Netherlands, one of the favorites to win the World Cup.
Mexico will also face a Paraguay team that as a South American team should be tough, although they weren’t as good as other South American teams like Argentina. The real life line of the group is facing Solomon Islands, who as second-place finisher from the weakest confederation (OFC), is regarded as the weakest qualifier to the World Cup. Although Mexico should be weary of overconfidence as a similar situation in the 2017 U-20 World Cup almost turned into a catastrophe. In that tournament, Mexico was grouped with Vanuatu and although they took a 2-0 lead, they ended up getting tied and needed a last minute goal from Edson Alvarez to get the win. In the end, the win and a tie against Germany was enough to get Mexico to qualify and eventually getting to the Quarterfinals. Still, Mexico will also benefit from it being the final game and knowing the results needed for a potential qualification to the knockout stages. Mexico will continue to prepare for the tournament. The team is currently in Japan playing the Niigata U17 tournament.