clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mexico qualify to the 2023 U-17 World Cup after win over El Salvador

Mexico dominated en route to a 3-0 win over El Salvador.

via @miseleccionmx

Mexico won the most important match of the tournament as they defeated El Salvador by a score of 3-0 to get to the semifinals, but more importantly have won one of four tickets to the 2023 U-17 World Cup. Mexico were the better team from the start, although it was a tougher test than against Nicaragua in the Round of 16. They will now face the winner of the Honduras vs. Panama quarterfinal matchup, but the main goal has been accomplished.

Mexico came out with their best lineup including Gael Alvarez, who had been injured against Nicaragua. Just five minutes in, Isaac Martinez got booked after bringing down a player in a play that seemed harsh and could hurt the Mexican side. After a good run by Alvarez, he got off a good, low cross that an El Salvador player deflected into the path of Stephano Carrillo, who from close range got a good right footed shot past Aguilar for the goal and the 1-0 lead. And Mexico almost got another from Barajas right after. El Salvador answered back off a corner kick when Bryan Vasquez got a wide open chance, but his volley went well wide. El Salvador had a good counter that had Walter Menjivar in the area, but he fell and the ref correctly ruled it a dive.

While Mexico had been overly superior the whole match, El Salvador started having more possession after the goal as they searched for the tie. The game also started getting chippy with both teams committing a lot of fouls. Mexico had a great chance when a long ball into the area fell to Martinez, but from close range he sent his shot wide, wasting a good chance. Mexico had another great chance when a pass in the area found Alvarez, but once again his shot was saved by a defender’s sliding tackle. The halftime whistle blew and although Mexico had clearly been the better team, their one goal lead looked a little short for what was displayed in the 1st half.

The second half began with Mexico subbing out Luis Navarrette (who already had a yellow) for Jonathan Flores. El Salvador subbed out Nestor Delgado for Steven Mancia. In the first play of the half, Barajas got into the area and got off a left footed shot that went wide. A minute later, Alvarez got into the area for a 1 vs. 1, but his shot was saved by Aguilar in the best chance of the match besides the goal. Then, a cross into the area found Jose Urias, who got off a great wide open header past Aguilar for a goal and the 2-0 lead. It was a key score at a key moment as Mexico now could play with El Salvador’s increasing desperation. Mexico wasted an incredible chance when two El Salvador defenders crashed and Carrillo had a 1 vs. 1, but instead of lobbing it over the keeper, he tried to dribble by him and Aguilar took the ball off his feet.

Diaz would also have a chance when his cross turned to a shot, but it was easily saved by Bedolla. Then, a longball into the area was lowered by Barajas into the path of Jose Urias who fired from close range past Aguilar and gave Mexico the 3-0 lead. It looked like the killer goal that booked the ticket to the World Cup. Finally, a free kick from Azcarate came close to going in but it went wide. Mexico continued to dominate possession as the match looked settled, and ended up clinching the win and the ticket to the World Cup.

Mexico continue their streak by booking their seventh straight U-17 World Cup. The win is even bigger when taking into account Mexico missed out on the U-20 World Cup and the 2024 Olympic games by losing their quarterfinal match against Guatemala in the 2022 U-20 CONCACAF Championship. Once again it’s the U-17 category where Mexico have won two World Cups, the most successful category in Mexican football. A bigger boost is that the tournament is expected to be held in Peru, the sight of the 2005 U-17 World Cup where Mexico won their first world title.

El Tri didn’t dominate like they did against Nicaragua, but they were in total control of the match against a better team, showing that the team is improving after lackluster group stage matches against Guatemala and Panama. The unsung hero was Jose Urias, who scored twice and had already showed very promising things against Nicaragua. Mexico will still try to win the tournament, but the main goal was accomplished as Mexico return to the world stage for youth competitions. A very solid and happy result for Mexican football.