Mexico won the Under-17 World Cup final on Sunday, defeating Uruguay 2-0 with goals from Antonio Briseno in the 31st minute and Giovani Casillas in second-half stoppage time. Team captain Briseño volleyed home a Carlos Fierro cross while Casillas poked home an insurance goal to give Mexico their second victory in two weeks.
The first being the senior side’s second straight CONCACAF Gold Cup title won by defeating United States 4-2 in California. The second victory within 2 weeks for Mexico football was this 2nd under-17 World Cup championship amidst the boisterous crowd at Azteca Stadium in Mexico.
I believed though that goalkeepers also play a crucial role in a team success. Because what good is a defense if the competition is able to score for every goal attempts they make. I remember reading once that any football team with designs on success needs a strong backbone which is formed by the goalkeeper. In this case, the FC Dallas ‘keeper Richard Sanchez did a great job of containing the attempts first by Uruguay striker Rodrigo Aguirre who he met in a head-to-head collision, then in the 61st minute Aguirre’s substitute made another attempt which would have been the equalizer and the last was when he was able to make a save when Elbio Alvarez took a rip from 20 yards.
While Biseño gave the first goal for Mexico, the second goal by Casillas certainly made the day for nearly 100,000 fans at the Azteca. It may not have been the prettiest goal but it was perfect as a goal with Uruguay still searching for the equalizer it definitely put the final result beyond doubt.
Biseño though is a pretty good captain as seen when one who wears the same team uniforms as him fell in pain. Instead of celebrating with the team, Biseño immediately went to Gomez who was lying in the ground in pain, alerted first the referee and then Mexico’s coaching staff, who had all been celebrating the goal. If football captaincy is all about character and leadership, then Antonio Briseno fulfils the job requirements to perfection.
But the man of the hour is midfielder Julio Gomez. His two goals against Germany gave them not only the chance for the finals but also gave him the Golden Ball. The first goal had him going head to head against another player when his teammate Jorge Espericueta sent a corner kick directly into the German net to bring them to a draw at 2-2. And though he was advised by the medical team not to play anymore, he knew he didn’t have any choice because that would leave the team down to 10 players. And though he told his teammate that he(Casillas) had to hit it because he couldn’t because of his injury, when he was given the opportunity he toom it via an overhead kick that went thru.
During the final game against Uruguay, he received the biggest roar when he finally entered the pitch, head still bandaged, mid-way through the second half. Like the fans, the media also gave him the biggest roar and voted him the adidas Golden Ball winner as tournament top player by a wide margin.
"You always dream of scoring important goals, but this one tops them all,” Mexico U-17 hero Julio Gomez