Favourites to the fore
© Getty Images

THE DAY REPLAYEDEngland, United States, Uruguay and New Zealand all made solid starts to their FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 campaigns, putting less experienced opponents to the sword in the process.

In the first match in Group C, the English were made to work a little harder than expected against tournament newcomers Rwanda, but once the impressive Hallam Hope had made the breakthrough in the second half, they took control, eventually running out deserved 2-0 winners. In the same group, Uruguay’s defence put in an extremely solid performance against Canada, providing La Celeste with the foundations on which to build a fine 3-0 victory and pick up all three points.

Group D’s opening fixtures were dominated by the individual display of New Zealand midfielder Stephen Carmichael, who scored an imperious hat-trick in his country’s 4-1 rout of Uzbekistan. The Oceania representatives top the group by virtue of having scored more than the USA, who saw off the Czech Republic 3-0 in a match that included three goals of the highest quality.

Results
Rwanda 0-2 England
Uruguay 3-0 Canada
Uzbekistan 1-4 New Zealand
USA 3-0 Czech Republic

Goal of the day
Alejandro Guido, 5’, USA-Czech Republic
Scarcely had fans taken their seats for the clash between the Americans and the Czechs when Alejandro Guido stole the ball down the right-hand side, advanced a few steps and then released a stunning left-footed shot from well outside the box that flew in off the crossbar. Czech goalkeeper Lukas Zima made a valiant effort to get near it, but could do nothing to stop the United States from taking an early 1-0 lead.

Memorable moments
Well-mined runs

Ever since the town was founded, Pachuca and mining have been intrinsically linked. It is also known for being the veritable birthplace of Mexican football, due to the fact that in the late 19th century English miners introduced locals to the game. “We’re very proud to have achieved something of note here,” said England coach John Peacock prior to the match. Nearly 120 years later, the English returned to graft in the city, mining a rich seam of goals in the second half of their opening encounter with Rwanda.

Defensive deficiencies
After conceding just three goals in CONCACAF qualifying matches, it was clear before the tournament began that Canada’s strength would lie in their well-organised defence. After keeping out Uruguay’s forwards in the first half, a first for a Canadian side at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, that analysis seemed correct. However, three second-half Uruguayan goals put the North Americans’ dreams of registering their first-ever point in the competition on hold, at least until their next match.

Historic hat-trick
By scoring three times against Uzbekistan, New Zealand’s Stephen Carmichael became the 25th player to notch a hat-trick at this event. The young Central United midfield man joins an elite list that includes some notable names, such as Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu (1993) and Spain’s David Silva (2003).

Lucky for some
In the majority of Western cultures, number 13 is associated with bad luck, and a whole host of footballers refuse to wear it out of superstition. Uruguayan front man Juan Cruz Mascia is an exception to this rule, however, and so far Lady Luck has not been unpleasant towards him: after finishing as top goalscorer at the recent South American U-17 Championship, his opening goal against Canada propelled the CONMEBOL representatives to an important victory.

The stat
1,400
– Uruguayan midfielder Elbio Alvarez’s name will now forever have a place in the record books of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, as his goal against Canada was the 1,400th of the tournament. He achieved this feat in Mexico, the birthplace of Carlos Campo, the player who recorded the 1,300th goal back at Nigeria 2009.

Up next
20 June 2011

Germany-Ecuador (Queretaro 15.00)
Brazil-Denmark (Guadalajara 15.00)
Burkina Faso-Panama (Queretaro 18.00)
Australia-Côte d’Ivoire (Guadalajara 18.00)