U-17 World Cup: Two-time champions Mexico arrive in Kolkata

Kolkata, Oct 4: A 21-member Mexico squad along with team officials arrived in the city on Wednesday evening to take part in the FIFA U-17 World Cup starting on October 6. Mexico, who have won the competition twice (2005, 2011), are in Group F along with England, Chile and Iraq and will play their first match on Sunday against the Iraqis. The team, coached by Mario Arteaga, landed around 4.50 p.m. and headed straight to their hotel. They will not practice on Wednesday. Mexico are the last team to touch down in the city after all the other three. The official training programme of all teams began at the Salt Lake Stadium and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) complex. The revamped Salt Lake Stadium will host 10 matches including the final on October 28. Besides the Group F matches, there will be one Group E tie between New Caledonia and Japan here. Since the turn of the century, Mexico have enjoyed something of a golden era at the U-17 level.  Between 2010 and 2013, Raul Gutierrez continued the superb work of his predecessors, including their inaugural FIFA U-17 World Cup title at Peru 2005, by leading El Tri to a second world title on home soil in 2011.  Two years later in the UAE, Gutierrez and his charges almost repeated the feat, only to lose 3-0 to a superb Nigeria in the final. It is a testament to their recent success at this level that Mexico's fourth-place finish at Chile 2015, losing to old foes Nigeria in the semi-finals, represented something of a disappointment for El Tri. Despite ultimately claiming the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, Mexico endured a few bumps along the road to India 2017. Pitted against old rivals USA in the initial group stage, they were defeated 4-3 by the Stars and Stripes in an epic encounter in Panama City.  However, they made short work of almost all other opponents at Panama 2017, picking up comprehensive victories against El Salvador and Jamaica to reach the classification stage where they demolished Costa Rica and squeezed past the hosts to reach the continental final and the global finals.  A stoppage-time equaliser against the US in the Panama 2017 final meant a penalty shootout, which El Tri won to seal their seventh U-17 continental title. Squad:  Goalkeepers: Víctor André Alcaráz Díaz, César Iván López De Alba and César Rafael Ramos Becerra. Defenders: Alan Maeda Luevanos, Luis Alejandro Olivas Salcedo, Oscar Haret Ortega Gatica, Carlos Alejandro Robles Jiménez, Adrián Vázquez Hernández, Sergio Villarreal Lozano and Raúl Martín Sandoval Zavala. Midfielders: Luis Javier Gamíz Ávila, Carlos Eduardo Guerrero Zavala, Alexis Hazael Gutiérrez Torres, Diego Laínez Leyva, Deivoon Alexander Magaña Rico, Jesús Andrés Pérez Álvarez and Marco Antonio Ruíz Zarco. Forwards: Ían Jairo Misael Torres Ramírez, Roberto Carlos De la Rosa González, César Saúl Huerta Valera, Daniel Guadalupe López Valdez.  

IANS