- Iraq's first-ever point at the FIFA U-17 World Cup
- Two-time U-17 champions Mexico controlled second half
- Iraq face Chile, Mexico meet England in next group games
In a battle of continental champions, Mexico and Iraq gave each other their best shots in an entertaining 1-1 draw in their opening Group F match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
Full of pace and seemingly endless stamina up front, Mohammed Dawood spearheaded the Iraqi counter-attacking game plan, and he found himself in on goal more than a few times in the match. It was the lone striker who opened the scoring in the 16th minute on a typically incisive breakaway in rainy Kolkata.
Mexico did their best to turn their possession into chances, and Roberto de la Rosa headed against the crossbar near the half-hour mark, but twice on either side of half-time, the Iraqis could have extended their lead through Dawood and Mohammed Ridha, who were both wasteful with only the goalkeeper to beat.
In the second half, El Tri took more control and got their reward six minutes after the break by taking advantage of an Iraqi error. It was Daniel Lopez who caused the chaos with a nicely weighted cross, and de la Rosa who took advantage of Abdulabbas Ayad’s miscued clearance.
Dawood continued to be a thorn in Mexico’s side, but it was Diego Lainez who went closest in the late stages – forcing the best from goalkeeper Ali Ibadi in the 74th minute and just missing the target a few minutes before the end.