The first round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 is over. For two days, silence has replaced the usual high-decibel mix of songs, shouts and celebrations as the competition’s host stadiums take a well-earned breather. The quiet will not last for long though, as fans from the 16 surviving teams will soon be back to rock Mexico’s arenas once again.
Mexico’s host stadiums have already witnessed some wonderful moments over the course of the tournament so far. These are events that do not simply disappear into the ether to be forgotten forever. Rather, they are absorbed into the pitches and stands to become indelible parts of the host stadium’s history. Mexican stadiums have provided the stage for some truly memorable moments over the years, and FIFA.com takes a look back at some of the highlights from past competitions and the current FIFA U-17 World Cup finals.
Rookies and veterans
The Estadio Morelos in Morelia is a relatively new stadium, having opened in 1989. It arrived too late to be part of the FIFA World Cups in Mexico in 1970 and 1986, but it secured its place in history this year by hosting the opening match of the U-17 World Cup finals. The stadium witnessed the first goal of the tournament, scored by Korea DPR’s Jo Kwang, and was treated to a stirring comeback from hosts Mexico, who came back to win 3-1.
The second stadium to be gripped by the excitement of these U-17 finals was the Estadio Universitario in Monterrey. The stadium is steeped in history, and saw the first ever Mexican wave surge around its stands during a match between Mexico and Argentina in 1984. Estadio Universitario was also a host venue for Mexico 1986, when legendary players including Lothar Matthaeus, Zbigniew Boniek and Hugo Sanchez all graced the stadium’s turf.
Pachuca’s Estadio Hidalgo is another very modern stadium. It has witnessed local favourites Los Tuzos win the Mexican league title on several occasions, and it has already been the scene of some unforgettable action at the U-17 World Cup 2011. Canadian goalkeeper Quillian Roberts’ spectacular, last-gasp equaliser against England is one moment that will live in the memory for many years to come.
Estadio Corregidora in Queretaro is a stadium with a long and illustrious history, and one that will forever be linked to one team in particular: Germany. Indeed, Germany played all three of their first-round matches of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the stadium. The arena was also the scene of Spain’s stunning 5-1 victory over Denmark in the Round of 16 that year. More recently, the stadium hosted Germany’s brilliant 6-1 demolition of Ecuador in their opening match of the U-17 finals.
Old and new in Guadalajara
The Estadio Guadalajara only opened a few years ago, but its namesake host city boasts a rich football history – one that is inextricably linked to giants Brazil. Pele and co lit up the old Estadio Jalisco with their performances in 1970, as the world watched in amazement and declared them one of the greatest teams of all time. Sixteen years later, Brazil returned to the stadium to take on France in what has since been described as the one of the matches of the century. France took the spoils that day, edging Brazil on penalties.
It was Brazil who lit up the new stadium once again in the first round of the U-17 World Cup 2011, with the inspirational Lucas Piazon leading the Seleção to victories over Australia and Denmark. The Estadio Guadalajara also witnessed two of the most exciting matches of the competition so far. Côte d’Ivoire featured in both, beating Denmark 4-2 before holding Brazil to a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Last but by no means least is the Estadio Torreon. The stadium was opened little over a year ago, and it is still something of a blank canvas in terms of history and tradition. Nonetheless, the stadium enjoyed a glut of goals in the first round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with New Zealand’s 4-1 win over Uzbekistan a particular highlight. Uzbekistan have also been among the goals, upsetting both USA and Czech Republic on their way to clinching top spot in Group D.
The legendary Estadio Azteca in Mexico City is the only host stadium yet to enter the action. The stadium’s history is so vast that it would need a whole article of its own. For now, though, it is time to take a deep breath and get ready for yet more excitement as the knockout stages of Mexico 2011 begin.