England and Mexico have drawn 1-1 in Moncton to leave Group C as the most evenly balanced section at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014. The day had begun with all four of this group's hopefuls on a single point and though England looked to be stretching out in front thanks to a first-half goal from Bethany Mead, Mexico fought back in the second and claimed a deserved point through Tanya Samarzich.
The European side undoubtedly enjoyed the better of a fairly low-key first-half and provided the first effort on goal when Sherry McCue fired just wide from 30 yards. Katie Kelem went closer still 13 minutes later with a well-taken free-kick that flashed inches over the crossbar, while Jessica Sigsworth also narrowly missed out with a shot from distance.
England retained faith in their long-range shooting though, and ten minutes before the break it was justified. Mead was the source of inspiration, receiving the ball from the left and jinking past Karla Nieto before unleashing a brilliant, dipping 30-yard drive that flew past a startled Mexican keeper.
But although it was a terrific goal and no more than England deserved for their first-half superiority, their opponents came storming back after the break. A warning shot was fired across English bows in 59 minutes when Samarzich shot powerfully from the edge of the box and missed the target by a matter of inches. And while Nikita Parris might have sewn up the points at the other end with a shot that beat the keeper, but not the post, it was no surprise when Mexico restored parity.
Samarzich was the scorer, showing tremendous power and desire to bundle in a rebound after Fabiola Ibarra's initial 25-yard shot had rebounded back off the crossbar. That leaves Group C as tight and difficult-to-predict as ever, with the stage now set for Nigeria and Korea Republic to take the initiative in the section's later kick-off.
*Live Your Goals player of the match: Sherry McCue (ENG) *