Mexico
© AFP

The past
Up until 2005, Mexico had enjoyed precious little luck at the finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. All that changed in Peru four years ago when the so-called Golden Generation captured the hearts of the nation and won the title in emphatic style. Several distinguished members of that richly talented side, such as Giovani dos Santos, Carlos Vela and Hector Moreno, are now plying their trade at major European clubs, while others have become first-teamers in the Mexican league.

The present
Unfortunately, their immediate successors were unable to match the standards they set. Mexico failed to reach Korea 2007, making qualification for Nigeria 2009 an absolute priority for the latest crop of Tricolor youngsters. And they did not fail in their duty, laying down an important marker in the CONCACAF qualifying competition by crushing Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 and then following up with 3-0 and 1-0 wins over Guatemala and Costa Rica respectively to ensure their place in the finals.

The future
Much is expected of Jose Luis Gonzalez China's team. Spearheaded by the exciting prodigy Martin Galvan, the gifted class of 2009 compares favourably with the side that triumphed at Peru 2005 and looks strong in every department. Given their recent success in the competition and the depth and quality in the squad, there is every reason to believe Mexico can rule the world again in Nigeria, provided they apply themselves. Speaking at the end of the qualifying tournament coach Gonzalez China expressed his belief that his charges would do just that. "I'm satisfied with our performances here and I'm sure we will be in just the right shape for the World Cup."

Facts and figures
Former stars
Luis Garcia (1985), Juan de Dios Ramirez (1985), Felix Fernandez (1987), Rafael Garcia (1991), Fernando Arce (1997), Luis Perez (1997), Aaron Galindo (1999), Carlos Vela (2005), Hector Moreno (2005), Giovani dos Santos (2005)

Key players
Kristian Alvarez (defender), Carlos Campos (midfielder), Erick Vera (forward), Victor Manon (forward)

Qualifying statistics
Mexico won all three of their qualifying games, scoring 11 goals and conceding zero

The numbers game 
2 - The number of players who will take part in Nigeria 2009 and who have already made their Mexican First Division debuts: defender Cesar Ibanez and striker Victor Manon.