El Tri gets to stay in Brazil after qualifying for the knockout stage with a win in its final group match.
Team Mexico remains alive in the Under-17 World Cup after a resounding 8-0 win over the Solomon Islands in their final group stage match. The result left the Mini-Tri in fourth place in Group F with 4 points, behind both Italy (6 points) and Paraguay (7 points).
L.A. Galaxy prodigy Efráin Álvarez scored twice and had two assists to lead Mexico. Defender Alejandro Gómez and Israel Luna also had two goals for Marco Antonio Ruiz’s squad. Just two minutes into Sunday’s game, Álvarez took a pass from Bruce El-Mesmari near the penalty spot and slotted home to give Mexico an early 1-0 lead and our boys did not let up until the final whistle.
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In their earlier group stage games, the Mini-Tri played Paraguay to a scoreless draw despite playing the final 21 minutes with only 10 men after midfielder Eugenio Pizzuto was harshly shown a red card for a foul that was more accurately a collision between two players going after the ball. Italy then defeated Mexico 2-1, scoring the winner in added time only minutes after the precocious Álvarez had found the equalizer.
The top two finishers in each of the six groups at the Brazil 2019 U-17 World Cup automatically advance to the Round of 16 where they are joined by the top four third-place finishers.
Next up for El Tri … Japan
The Mini-Tri finished as the top third-place team thanks to its +7 goal differential and they move on to the knockout stage where they will face Japan in Gama, Brazil, on Nov. 6. Japan won Group D over Senegal, Holland and Team USA. The Asian Football Confederation side earned 7 points from their three group stage matches, routing Holland 3-0, settling for a 0-0 draw against the United States and edging Senegal 1-0.
Coach “Chima” Ruiz will have to devise a way for El Mini Tri to score a goal against the disciplined Japanese defense as well as keeping a close eye on Yamato Wakatsuki, Japan’s 17-year-old star striker.
Mexico’s other ‘representative’
Referee Adonai Escobedo is one of three Concacaf officials invited to participate in the World Cup. The 32-year-old native of Aguascalientes has been in charge of two games this far. He whistled the France-South Korea match in Group C, a game won by the French teens by a score of 3-1. France won their group and South Korea finished second.
Escobedo was also the match referee for Spain’s 2-0 win over Cameroon in Group E on Sunday. Spain won that group, while Cameroon finished in last place.