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Campeones ole ole ole

July 12, 2011

As of yesterday, Mexico are FIFA under-17 World Champions. This may not seem like much but it’s more than England have won in the past 45 years so not gonna knock it. Here are my articles on the semis and the final:

Gomez leads Mexico into under-17 Final

A stunning last-minute strike from Julio Enrique Gomez capped a rousing comeback against Germany on Thursday, sealing Mexico’s place in Sunday’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup final in Mexico City. In a thrilling contest the hosts took an early lead, before conceding twice and eventually coming from behind to win 3-2 in Torreón’s Estadio Corona.

Midfielder Gomez became Mexico’s latest footballing hero with a heroic display that will be remembered for years to come. After scoring the opener on three minutes he saw his team fall behind thanks to goals from Samed Yesil and German captain Emre Can.

Gomez almost had to leave the field after a clash of heads as teammate Jorge Espericueta fired in from the corner spot to level the game with 15 minutes remaining.

Yet Mexico had no substitutes left, so Gomez, who would later require seven stitches to the head, returned to the field heavily bandaged.

Undeterred, Gomez soldiered on and connected sweetly with an 89th minute corner, his deft overhead kick dumping Steffen Freund’s side out of the competition and sparking scenes of delirium among the home fans.

El Tri will now face Uruguay in Sunday’s final at the Estadio Azteca, following their surprise 3-0 victory over Brazil in Guadalajara on Thursday.

Mexico’s under-17s are looking to emulate the success of the “Golden Generation” who won the tournament in 2005 with a squad which included the likes of Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos.

Champions! Mexico’s youth repeat 2005 triumph

Around 1,000 jubilant soccer fans flocked to Guadalajara’s Minerva fountain to celebrate Mexico’s 2-0 victory over Uruguay in the FIFA under-17 World Cup final on Sunday night.

The result was a triumph nationally and locally with both goalscorers coming from the local clubs, Atlas and Chivas.

Before the game tickets were changing hands at inflated prices as 100,000 fans packed into Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, many wearing novelty head bandages in homage to the hero of the semi-final, Julio Gomez.

After a slow start the match developed into an absorbing contest, with Antonio Briseño of Atlas opening the scoring with a cool finish inside the penalty area with half an hour gone.

The hosts were the better side throughout, although Uruguay squandered several chances to level the tie, most notably hitting the post mid-way through the second half.

They were punished for such profligacy in front of goal when substitute Giovani Casillas sealed the win for Mexico in a fine last-minute counter-attack.

Casillas, of Chivas, was one of nine players in Mexico’s 25-man squad representing teams from Guadalajara. Carlos Fierro, another Chivas youngster, looked particularly impressive leading the attack and will surely have sparked the interest of clubs around the world looking for the next  Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

El Tri have now won the competition twice in six years, with Carlos Vela firing the “Golden Generation” to victory in 2005. Following the senior side’s triumph in the Gold Cup last month, the future of Mexican football certainly looks promising.

The fact that this was only an under-17 youth competition mattered little to the thousands of Mexican supporters, including President Felipe Calderon, who watched the game alongside FIFA President Sepp Blatter, and famous Tapatios Gael Garcia Bernal and Miss Universe Ximena Navarette, who both congratulated the sub-17 selection via Twitter.

In Guadalajara the rain failed to dampen celebrations at the Minerva as cheers of “Campeones!” and “Viva Mexico!” rang out long into the night.

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