With the teams already secure in the knowledge that they had qualified for the quarter-finals, both coaches took the opportunity to rest some players ahead of the knock-out stages. Mexico left out six players from the starting line-up which beat Australia, including their first-choice strikers Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Vela. Turkey adopted a similar approach, with seven of the team that took to the field against Uruguay beginning this game on the substitute's bench.
Premier place in the group was at stake, but the match was a relatively low-key affair and it took 11 minutes for the first incident of note to arise, though when it arrived it was well worth waiting for. Ever Guzman had previously seen only six minutes of action at Peru 2005, but he made a name for himself by skipping through the Turkey rearguard to slide the ball past the advancing Onur Kivrak and into his net (1:0, 11').
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Mexico almost went further in front soon afterwards, but when Alejandro Esqueda fired in a dangerous cross, Efrain Valdez and Mario Gallegos just failed to get the vital touch that would have turned it into a certain goal.
Turkey earned a series of corners as they tried to make some impression at the other end, with Nuri Sahin eventually teeing himself up for a volley that dipped just over the bar. He was involved in the equaliser when it came, forcing a good save out of Sergio Arias and Deniz Yilmaz was there to head the rebound home (1:1, 28').
Sahin curled a free-kick narrowly over the top in the last action of the first half, but the teams went into the interval with nothing to choose between them.
Young Turks come out battling
Turkey started the second half with a bit more verve about them and came within a whisker of taking the lead when team captain Ozgurcan Ozcan struck the post with a well-taken shot from a Deniz Yilmaz cross.
Substitute Tevfik Kose should have put the young Turks in front with 20 minutes to go, but he blazed high and wide after being released by Ferhat Bikmaz - an effort that drew howls of derision from the increasingly restless crowd.
Mexico's small but vociferous band of followers tried their best to lift their team and the atmosphere in general, but their efforts went without reward.
Guzman took the ball around Turkey goalkeeper Kivrak, but he failed to convert the opportunity and just as the sides seemed to be settling for a point apiece, Erkin leapt highest in the box to head home Turkey's winning goal in stoppage time (1:2, 91').
A delighted Turkey coach Abdullah Avci was pleased with the way his team responded to a tricky opening phase of the game and he said: "The first 15 minutes were difficult for us, but we were the ones who were able to put more pressure on Mexico and I think we played the better football. We are not worried about who we come up against next."
Mexico boss Jesus Ramirez said: "For a lot of my players, this was the start of their championship and I'm happy with the way they performed, though of course I would have preferred them to learn without a defeat. This match is already in the past though and it's time to think about the future."
The result means Mexico now stay in the northern city of Piura for their quarter-final against Costa Rica on Sunday afternoon, while Turkey head east to Iquitos for their clash against China that same evening.