England were the toast of Group C in Pachuca, playing a patient and controlled brand of football that brought them to the top of the section. Two wins and a draw were enough to see the team, led by Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and creator Nick Powell, edge Uruguay on points.
Their win over La Celeste in the last contest of the group settled any doubt and the two passed through to the knockout rounds. Canada, though playing with uncommon style, could only muster two points from two draws and followed debutants Rwanda out at the first hurdle.
The final standings
1. England (7 points)
2. Uruguay (6)
3. Canada (2)
4. Rwanda (1)
Congo-Uruguay, Morelia, Wednesday 29 June, 18.00 (local time)
England-Argentina, Pachuca, Thursday 30 June, 15.00 (local time)
The tale of the teams
Uruguay arrived in Pachuca with a fearsome defensive reputation from their stingy performances in qualifying, and they kept up the form throughout their first two games, beating Canada 3-0 and following it up with a dramatic 1-0 win over African upstarts Rwanda. With qualification already assured, coach Fabian Coito shuffled his pack in the final group contest in Torreon, leaving out the likes of ace striker Juan Cruz Mascia and a number of defensive stalwarts. A 2-0 loss to England followed and La Celeste were forced to settle for second in the section.
The English began their account with a 2-0 win over Rwanda in which they missed several chances. However, that was followed by a dramatic draw with Canada and a smashing win over the Uruguayans in their final game. Canada and Rwanda both had the chance to go through to the knockout rounds when they clashed in their last game, but neither side could find the goal they required.
Uruguay late show breaks Rwandan hearts: Rwanda, behind outstanding playmaker Andrew Buteera, looked to have done enough to earn their first-ever point in a FIFA finals in their second game against Uruguay. With the score tangled at 0-0 a full five minutes into stoppage time, a hopeful kick up the field by Uruguay’s Jonathan Cubero was met by the head of Leonardo Pais, who scored the winner with the final action of the contest. The Rwandans, predictably, slumped to the pitch in agony and despair as Uruguay celebrated their smash-and-grab result.
Roberts’ goal for history: There was another moment of late heroism and heartbreak in Canada’s second game at the Estadio Hidalgo. With the North Americans down 2-1 to England with three minutes to go, Canuck goalkeeper Quillan Roberts – who came on for injured No1 Maxime Crepeau – hoofed the ball up from inside his own area. The ball evaded striker Sadi Jalali, bounced on the wet turf and skipped over the head of England’s Jordan Pickford. It was the first-ever goal scored by a goalkeeper at a traditional FIFA finals and led to Canada’s first-ever U-17 World Cup point.
England’s attacking shuffle: England coach John Peacock used all six of his listed strikers in the team’s three Group C games, showing a real knack for surveying his options. Four of these - Hallam Hope, Adam Morgan, Blair Turgott and Max Clayton - managed to get on the scoresheet in those three games, leaving the boss with a selection headache ahead of their round of 16 contest with Argentina.
0 - The number goals scored by Rwanda in their over 270 minutes of football here at Mexico 2011. Even so, they did manage to hit the post in their second contest with Uruguay.
"We’re a different Canadian team than anyone has ever seen, and as a result there’s a bright future for Canada’s soccer. We move the ball and we try to play soccer the right way, which wasn’t always the case. You haven’t seen the last of the players in this team" Canada creator Keven Aleman on the Canucks' new brand of cohesive brand of football.