Monday, July 11, 2011

Congratulations to Mexico - 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup Winners

Mexico captain Antonio Briseno holds aloft the FIFA U-17 World Cup

Hosts Mexico won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Sunday, with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in front of a crowd of just under 100,00O at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.

Goals from Antonio Briseno in the 31st minute and Giovani Casillas in second-half stoppage time saw Mexico lift the trophy for the second time, having previously won the tournament in 2005.

Briseno scored on 31 minutes, with a close range volley after a cross from the right was headed back across goal by striker Carlos Fierro, leaving Uruguay keeper Jonathan Cubero stranded.
Uruguay nearly hit back straight away, but Elbio Alvarez's long range effort came back off the upright.

Mexico started the the second-half with more urgency, and looked the more likely to score as they tested Cubero with shots from distance.

However it was Uruguayan striker Juan San Martin who almost levelled the scores in the 61st minute, only to see his left foot shot from six yards strike the post with Richard Sanchez beaten. It was the second time the home team had been saved by the woodwork.

Casillas got his goal and Mexico's second in second-half stoppage time, scoring on the counter attack as Uruguay pressed for an equalizer. The final whistle followed just seconds later, sparking joyous scenes of unrivaled passion from fans and players alike.

"This is an amazing feeling and one of my absolute greatest sporting moments here in Mexico. We have a strong group of players in this young Mexican team, I love this job and I love this team. This is a great day." Mexico coach Raul Gutierrez after the game.

"I can't even begin to explain how happy I am, to play at the Estadio Azteca, we're so happy, me and my teammates. We worked really hard, I can't even explain how I feel," said Mexico goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.

The Under-17 World Cup tournament is famously unreliable as a guide of future success at senior level. Brazil has won the event three times, but so has Nigeria. Spain and England have never lifted the trophy, but Saudi Arabia and Switzerland have. Germany played in the first final, in 1985, but has never been back.

However, only two weeks ago the Mexico senior team won the CONCACAF Gold Cup — a competition to determine the regional champion of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean combined — defeating the United States 4-2 in the final in California.
Mexico also won the Gold Cup trophy in 2009, so are we about to witness a new era of world football domination, in the shape of Mexico? We shall see!

Mexican midfielder Julio Gomez – star of the semi-final win over Germany – was handed the adidas Golden Ball as top player while his teammates Jorge Espericueta and striker Carlos Fierro picked up the Silver and Bronze Balls respectively.

Ivorian striker Souleymane Coulibaly held out as the top finisher, to scoop the adidas Golden Shoe. His nine tournament goals in just four games was a record-equaling feat, tying him with previous tournament top scorer Frenchman Florent Sinama Pongolle, who reached the milestone playing three extra games back in 2001.

The adidas Silver Shoe went to Samed Yesil of Germany who scored six goals (and set up a further five) in a tournament where the Germans finished third.

Uruguayan goalkeeper Jonathan Cubero was awarded the adidas Golden Glove for best goalkeeper in the tournament. The Cerro man helped Uruguay earn their reputation as the meanest defence at these finals, only conceding five goals in his team’s seven games.

Full match highlights of the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup Final

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