Patricio Araujo holds the proud distinction of being the first Mexican player to hold aloft a FIFA World Cup trophy. The Guadalajara defensive midfielder was captain of his national team when they won the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2005 and, in so doing, got to experience what only a small number of players ever do.
Who better then to offer some advice to his compatriots as they prepare to contest the 2011 edition on home soil? Talking exclusively to FIFA.com, the 23-year-old recalls that historic event in Peru, the impact it has had on his subsequent career, and talks about the lessons the class of 2011 can take from it.
We start by revisiting that memorable night in Lima, when Mexico upset the odds with an emphatic 3-0 win over Brazil in the final. “Right at that moment I felt a surge of emotion,” says Araujo. “My team-mates and I had the highest possible expectations. We didn’t feel nervous but rather very confident, and it was with that mindset that we took to the field. When we went two-up, I just knew it was going to be our day, and after the third goal, I told the guys, ‘Let’s just protect our lead and close the game out’. As you can imagine, the moment when the final whistle went was unforgettable,” Araujo says nostalgically.
As captain, minutes later he got to hoist aloft the coveted trophy and secure his place in the history of Mexican football. “El profesor (coach Jesus Ramirez) believed in me and my team-mates. It fell to me to be the group representative when accepting the trophy from FIFA, which was personally very satisfying and something I’d love to repeat one day with the senior team.”
As you can imagine, the moment when the final whistle went was unforgettable.