High hopes for returnees
© AFP

Saturday's Group B opener at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009 is set to be an absorbing encounter as Mexico and Switzerland make their return to the highest level of junior football in the sweltering heat of Lagos. The winner will gain a clear advantage ahead of two tough remaining group games against Japan and Brazil.

The game
Mexico-Switzerland, Lagos, Saturday 24 October, 16:00 (local time) 

The stakes
For Mexico and Switzerland, 2005 was a year of contrasting fortunes in the U-17 arena. While the Aztecas pulled off a major surprise by winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru, the Swiss made an early exit from the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands, their only previous youth tournament appearance up to now.  

Four years on, both sides will take to the field with the same objective: to secure three very valuable points in what looks to be a highly-competitive group. History favours El Tri, as despite their absence in 2007, they know what it is to win the tournament, while the Swiss will be making their FIFA U-17 World Cup debut. 

The stat
51 - Mexico's total goal tally from their eight previous appearances at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which they will be looking to add to on Saturday.    

The words
"I see many similarities between this team and our 2005 side which won the tournament, especially in terms of quality. Our players and staff have come here with a common goal: to fight for the title," Mexico coach Jose Luis Gonzalez China.

"People might say we're in a difficult group, but I'd call it an interesting one. We were in a similar situation in the European qualifying tournament and we did very well. The underdog tag suits us just fine," Swiss coach Dany Ryser.