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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Mexico draw with Chile, enter Round of 16

Two-time champions Mexico played out a goal-less draw in a high-intensity Group F final game against Chile but that was enough for them to qualify for the knock-out stage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 14, 2017 23:06 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Mexico national under-17 football team
Mexico played out a goalless draw against Chile in their final Group F match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. (AP)

Chile earned a point in their last Group F match by holding Mexico to a goalless draw, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the South Americans’ exit from the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Saturday.

Both Mexico – champions in 2005 and 2011 – and Chile had arrived in Guwahati with a chance of moving to the Round of 16. A win could have helped Chile cheer fans back home dejected after their senior team failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. (Mexico vs Chile highlights)

Chile took the field with a defensive mindset not often associated with South American soccer. Five defenders absorbed the pressure Mexico exerted from the first minute.

Mexico, who started favourites, saw at least a dozen shots miss the target or fended off by Chile goalie Julio Borquez.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Second-half blitz from England sets up Japan clash)

The closest Mexico came to scoring before the breather was in the 24th minute when striker Diego Lainez’s free-kick beat the wall but could not get past Borquez. The stretch gave the Chilean goalie an injury scare.

Rough play

Mexico stepped up the tempo in the second half that was marked by rough play. Three players each from the two sides were yellow-carded before a shot from Roberto de la Rosa, the Mexican No 10, hit the crossbar a minute before the final whistle.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: France crush Honduras 5-1, to face Spain in Round of 16)

The draw gave Mexico 2 points from three matches and helped them finish third behind Group F leaders England, who garnered nine points, and Iraq (4 points).

Mexico, aiming for a third championship title, made a poor start in the tournament as they drew 1-1 with Iraq and lost 2-3 to England.

But the Central Americans have a formidable opponent in Iran in the knockout stages. Iran bulldozed through Group C, conceding a solitary goal against Guinea while scoring 10. Four of them were against high-ranked Germany.

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 22:53 IST