Uruguay had no trouble seeing off New Zealand in their FIFA U-17 World Cup opener in Ras Al-Khaimah. The 2011 runners-up scored early and often at the Emirates Stadium, laying the Oceania champions low to the tune of 7-0. The result sees the South Americans climb emphatically to the top of Group B.
Uruguay wasted no time becoming the first team to score at these U-17 finals, when after just three minutes, an Enrique Etcheverry throw-in was flicked on at the near post and volleyed home extravagantly by No10 Kevin Mendez. It was an ominous start for the Kiwis, who were well dominated by the stylish Uruguayans for the rest of the first-half. Mendez turned provider in the 37th minute, sending in a low cross for the outstanding Leandro Otormin to finish off with aplomb.
The Uruguayans finished the first period with 11 shots to New Zealand’s two in a telling statistic that didn’t bode well for the rest of the contest. After the break things hadn’t much changed and Franco Acosta struck a goal after the Kiwi keeper dropped a Mendez shot to make it 3-0. In the 57th minute a lightning-quick counter-attack was capped off by Acosta, who picked up his second of the day.
The young men from Oceania were punch drunk by this point, and five minutes later they were picking the ball out of the net again when Otormin got his second on the night after an inch-perfect cross from Benitez. The striker told FIFA.com before the tournament that he expects to finish as top-scorer, and on tonight’s performance that may well be more than just boastful bluster.
The last quarter-hour saw Uruguay strike twice more to bring the score to a heavily lopsided 7-0. Facundo Ospitaleche headed in from a corner-kick and midfielder Franco Pizzichillo got in on the action with a delicate finish with his left foot in the final minute of the contest. Group B leaders Uruguay will next face Côte d'Ivoire on 20 October hoping for another similarly powerful performance, while New Zealand will be keen to turn things around against Italy that same day.