Mexico have a long history in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, appearing in the inaugural final at Tunisia 1977, where they lost 9-8 to the Soviet Union in a truly dramatic penalty shootout. Since then El Tricolor have appeared in 11 more finals competitions without ever going as far again. On the regional front, Mexico have just won their 11th CONCACAF title, far more than any other side in the zone, and all without having lost a single final. Their two closest challengers are Canada and Costa Rica, both of whom have just two regional championships to their name.
As strange as it may seem, given their dominant record in the region, the Mexicans had gone 19 years without winning the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. They set that record straight with a perfect run this time around, kicking off with a commanding 5-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, which was followed by a 3-0 defeat of Cuba. In the next phase the Mexicans downed Canada by the same scoreline to secure one of the four qualification berths for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011. Juan Carlos Chavez’s side then overcame Panama 4-1 in the semi-finals and capped a magnificent tournament by seeing off reigning champions Costa Rica 3-1 in the final. With a record of five wins out of five, 18 goals scored and two conceded, the magnificent Mexicans were in a league of their own. Later, in the Toulon Tournament, Mexico qualified for the semi-finals despite a 4-1 defeat to France, but lost against eventual champions Colombia and finished fourth.
The talented Tri team that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2005 set the bar high for future generations. However, coach Chavez seems to have the makings of another gifted unit,most of the players having already made their debuts in the Mexican top flight. That strength in depth should prove valuable when the tournament gets underway, and if the Mexicans can mesh as a team and play their usual passing game, they could well be a force to be reckoned with. Central to their hopes will be the form of Erick Torres, a Chivas striker who was recently compared to Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and playmaker Ulises Davila, and impressed again after announcing himself to the world in the CONCACAF qualifiers. “The qualifiers are not easy,” said Chavez. “But this is a fantastic squad. All 20 of them have got a lot of quality and they made it look simple, even though it wasn’t.”
|5||Diego DE BUEN|
|CHAVEZ Juan Carlos|