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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup: England can be vulnerable at the back, says Mexico coach Arteaga

Heavy attacking arsenal available for England and Mexico can mean an open match in the Group F game of FIFA U-17 World Cup on Wednesday.

fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 Updated: Oct 10, 2017 20:27 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mexico will need to keep an eye on England’s Jadon Sancho when the two meet in FIFA U-17 World Cup match on Wednesday.
Mexico will need to keep an eye on England’s Jadon Sancho when the two meet in FIFA U-17 World Cup match on Wednesday.(AFP)

It is one of the quirks of the World Cup that England and Mexico have rarely crossed paths. They have met twice in the under-20 World Cup and only once in the men’s competition, in 1966. And Wednesday’s group F tie will be their first ever in the U-17 World Cup.

England will be keen on proving that Mexico’s reputation at this level --- twice champions and seeded third among 79 teams that have played the U-17 World Cup --- isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Especially after such a flying start.

Target England’s defence

Mexico may have been stunned by Iraq early, but regained composure quickly. And coach Mario Arteaga felt England can be shaky at the back.

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That is one area Chile couldn’t test in their 4-0 defeat. “We have observed England and it is true that Chile didn’t attack well but we have seen England play Brazil. It was a match that ended 0-0 and gave us an idea that England’s defence can be vulnerable,” said Arteaga.

The ripples in the media area hadn’t died down on Tuesday when Arteaga said: “And Mexico are a skilful team with good attacking players. England will be aware of that…We plan on making some damage.”

England camp quiet

Arteaga had thrown the gauntlet all right but Steve Cooper was not around to return the fire because England chose to not interact with the media.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Concentration lapse cost India a point, says coach de Matos

On the evidence of what they showed against Iraq, Jairo Torres, Daniel Lopez and Roberto de la Rosa can ask questions of the England backline.

And that England have a potent attacking arsenal could mean a match where both teams leave space.

“They let you play. You can attack them, they will definitely attack us but that will also mean they will leave space for us,” said Arteaga.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Ghana coach bemoans lack of killer instinct post-USA loss

Sancho in focus again

Jadon Sancho was crucial to England’s domination of Chile on Sunday with two goals and an assist. But even if Mexico manage to put the kind of security cordon around Sancho as England have in so far as making him available to the media, it could mean space for George McEachran, Philip Foden and Callum Hudson-Odoi to showcase their skills.

In the way he disrupted Chile’s defensive line, containing Hudson-Odoi will be important, said Arteaga. And McEachran’s ability to create from deep was evident in the way he set up England’s third goal.

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The first match out of the way also means the nerves would be more settled. Just what the doctor ordered ahead of this midweek clash.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 20:27 IST

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