THE DAY REPLAYED – Brazil were dealt a cruel blow at their home away from home in Guadalajara, losing out 3-0 to South American rivals Uruguay. All three goals resulted from the lightning-quick counter-attack of the Celeste, who now march on to the final at the vaunted Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
They will meet Mexico in the tournament's ultimate match after a gutsy performance from the hosts, and Julio Gomez in particular, stopped the German juggernaut in its tracks. The Pachuca man scored two goals, one coming after having his head smashed to a bloody pulp, an injury requiring seven stitches.
Uruguay 3-0 Brazil
Germany 2-3 Mexico
Goal of the day
Julio Gomez 90’, Germany-Mexico
The Pachuca defender had already done enough to be considered Mexico’s hero on the night. By the time the 90th minute rolled around, he had scored one, created a second and had to leave the pitch on a stretcher with blood spilling from his head. Just as it looked like the Mexicans would have to finish the game a man down – coach Raul Gutierrez having made all of his subs – the brave warrior ran back down the tunnel, head wrapped in a huge bandage, changed his shirt and re-entered the fray to a roar from the crowd. Amazingly, he had them shouting again in the last minute of regular time when his dazzling overhead kick won the game and put Mexico in the final.
Yellow and blue make red
They say that familiarity breeds contempt. Neighbours Brazil and Uruguay have met 70 times on the world’s biggest football stages at senior level, including the notorious Maracanazo in 1950. This history of rancor and simmering tempers can’t help but inform proceedings whenever the two meet, whatever the age level. A full seven yellow cards were brandished when the two crossed swords in their U-17 semi-final in Guadalajara, and the Russian referee frequently had to separate irate and puffed-out players in a game where no ball went uncontested and no challenge was anything less than full-blooded. Uruguayan defender Gaston Silva’s nerves were wound so tight that he even snapped the corner flag in two early in the second half.
Mexico go green
The fans in Torreon caught a glimpse of their hometown heroes in the flesh for the first time today. Home to club side Santos Laguna, the brand-new Estadio Torreon – smack in the middle Mexico’s barren northern desert – is a vision in green. All 30,000 seats in the ground, which is home to green-and-white striped Santos Laguna, matched the shirts of the El Tri players, and the coincidental colour-coordination and passionate support helped save the day. Mexico won the thriller of these finals in dramatic style with their first-ever win at any level against Germany.
Uruguayan bench providers
Substitutes have had their say for Uruguay on their historic run to the U-17 World Cup final. Guillermo Mendez drove into the box just four minutes after coming on with a powerful and steely run today against Brazil. When the ball was half-tackled away, his fellow super-sub Juan San Martin (who came on at the half) slammed a vicious half-volley with his right foot into the side netting. Mendez added a third goal five minutes into stoppage time. In all, substitutes have scored three of Uruguay’s 11 goals, 27 per cent.
3 – The number of penalty-kicks Uruguay have taken in Mexico. Normal Celeste spot-kick man Guillermo Mendez, who missed one and scored one so far, started on the bench today, so Elbio Alvarez did the honours. The Penarol man fired straight up the middle to score the 105th penalty-kick in the history of tournament. The game ended 3-0 for Uruguay, only the second time Brazil have been beaten by such a lopsided scoreline in a U-17 finals.
The final, 10 July, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City