Corral inspires Mexican victory
Mexico defeated Switzerland 4-2 in a thrilling encounter at Moscow's Dynamo Stadium in the opening Group C game at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship Russia 2006. El Tri's win owed much to teen sensation Charlyn Corral , who made history by becoming the youngest scorer in the history of the championship.
Still a month shy of her 15th birthday, Corral and her striker partner Monica Ocampo used their pace and movement to devastating effect against a clearly flustered Swiss defence.
As early as the fifth minute, the Europeans were almost behind after a mix-up at the back. Misreading her keeper's intentions, Carolina Abbe's attempted clearance went in the direction of her own goal, though the defender managed to get back in time to clear. Moments later, Ocampo seized on a botched clearance to fire low and hard, but Gaelle Thalmann in the Swiss goal was well placed to block the effort.
Though the best of the early chances fell to the North American side, it was, in fact, the Helvetians who drew first blood. Vanessa Buerki began the move in midfield before linking up well with Isabelle Meyer on the right and receiving a return pass in the box. Totally unmarked, the 20-year-old striker bore down on goal and made no mistake with a delightful dinked finish (1-0, 12').
However, the Nati's celebrations were to be short-lived. After a sparkling solo run down the left channel, Corral left three defenders for dead before switching the play to pick out Ocampo. The No. 9 shaped to shoot but, with defenders closing her down, opted instead to cross for Corral, who swept home the equaliser (1-1, 15').
Stung by their opponents' swift riposte, Switzerland tried to wrest b ack the initiative with a series of swift breaks. Abbe, from a corner kick, and Sandy Maendly, from open play, both had chances to threaten Anjuli Ladron's goal, but both saw their efforts go over.
Mexico, meanwhile, continued with their pressing game , with defender Lourdes Gordillo even joining the attack. The team captain was quickly rewarded for her efforts when, after receiving a precise pass from Corral in the box, she fired under the Swiss keeper for her side's second (1-2, 30').
Claudio Taddei's side then missed a golden opportunity to level the scores from the penalty spot, when Meyer struck her kick wide of the right-hand post. Then, just as the Helvetians were contemplating returning to the dressing rooms with a one-goal deficit, Thalmann made a mess of punching clear Ariel Martinez's free-kick. On hand to take full advantage of the unexpected gift, predictably, was the ubiquitous Corral (1-3, 47').
Whatever Taddei said to his charges at half time seemed to do the trick, as they looked much more ambitious early in the second half. After launching a series of attacks, the European side got their reward when Buerki got on the end of a long ball from Sandra Betschart and chipped Ladron in the Mexican goal to set up a tense finale (2-3, 65').
For a time, Mexico seemed to hand the initiative and possession to their opponents, leaving Ladron to earn her stripes in goal, although Ocampo and Corral remained a constant menace for the Swiss rearguard in their frequent counter-attacks. Indeed, it was no great surprise when the Swiss then found themselves two goals down again when Ocampo finished off a swift counter-attack in added time to round off the scoring (2-4, 92').
"It was a tough game, just as we expected," a thrilled Mexico coach Leonardo Cuellar said afterwards. "We made it hard for ourselves near the end when we couldn't take our chances, but this is a big step forward for us, especially if you consider that we're a very young team."
Player of the Match: CHARLYN CORRAL (MEX)
"There were a lot of players out there this afternoon who showed very good ability. For me, however, Corral was the most impressive of them all, although she got great support from Juárez and Ocampo. She's very young but her contribution to the team was excellent, and she showed herself to be a great reader of the game," Marika Domanski-Lyfors (SWE), member of the FIFA Technical Study Group .