Mexico
© AFP

The past
Mexican women's football is clearly on the up, with the country's U-20 side consolidating its position as the third force in the CONCACAF. After participating at Canada 2002 and Russia 2006, editions at which then coach Leonardo Cuellar was unable to lead the side beyond the group stages, El Tri insist they have learned from the experience and are ready to go a step further at Chile 2008. The team can count on the dazzling talent of Veronica Charlyn Corral, who already impressed greatly at the previous edition in Russia two years ago. Not yet 17, the midfielder/forward will be one of the players to watch at the tournament in Chile, where she could well continue to set records with her team.

The present
Under the guidance of coach Andrea Rodebaugh, El Tri booked their place in Chile after a dramatic penalty shootout against Costa Rica (2-2 a.e.t) in the match for third place at the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship. Prior to their all-or-nothing showdown with the Ticos, Mexico had finished second in Group A after wins over Cuba (7-0) and Trinidad and Tobago (3-0) and a loss to the USA (3-0). In the semi-finals, Rodebaugh's charges came up against eventual champions Canada, who were simply too strong, seeing off the Mexicans 2-1.

The future
"I'm very happy and proud to have achieved our objective of reaching the World Cup. For now we're enjoying this good moment, although we're well aware the real battle is still to come. [As part of our build-up] we'll be trying to play other sides competing at the World Cup, as it's important we familiarise ourselves with their qualities and not get taken by surprise at the finals themselves." Mexico coach Andrea Rodebaugh.

Facts and figures
Former stars
Pamela Tajonar (2002), Monica Vergara (2002), Monica Ocampo (2006)

Key players
Erika Vanegas (goalkeeper); Veronica Charlyn Corral (midfielder)

Qualifying statistics
At the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship, Mexico won two and lost two before drawing their final match against Costa Rica and going through on penalties. Along the way they scored 13 goals and conceded 7.  

The numbers game
13 - The number of goals Mexico scored in qualifying for Chile 2008, and also the age at which their star player, Charlyn Corral, made her debut with the senior Mexico team.