Mexico vs Greece U-20 World Cup – June 22, 2013 Preview

Mexico vs Greece U-20 World Cup – June 22, 2013 Preview

Mexico vs Mali U-20
Flickr/Turkish Travel

The Mexico vs Greece U-20 Turkey World Cup match will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2013 (8:00 AM Pacific) at the Kamil Stadium in Gaziantep. Mexico’s squad has several players that won the 2011 U-17 World title, and are one of the favorites to win this edition of the U-20 World Cup. Handed a fairly easy group with Greece, Paraguay and Mali, Mexico is expected to go through the group stage without too much of a struggle.

In the past decade, Mexico has focused on improving its youth development system through a series of regulations applied to the Liga MX. All Liga MX teams must field youth squads, which compete in their own tournament against other youth teams. This has given young players who would have before had few playing opportunities outside of the training field, to play in a competitive environment.

The reinstatement of the Copa MX has also allowed young Mexican players another opportunity to play competitive soccer. A mainstay in European leagues, where it is often used to try out youth and reserve players, the Mexican domestic cup has created more opportunities for young players to compete against older opponents.

The focus on developing young talent has been quite successful: Mexico has won the U-17 World Cup twice (2005 & 2011), finished third in the 2011 U-20 World Cup, and won the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal (U-23). That is why El Tri is a favorite coming into the Mexico vs Greece match, and one of the teams expected to make a deep run in the U-20 Turkey World Cup.

The Mexican squad demonstrated in the CONCACAF qualifiers that it possesses a solid group of players capable of making an impression in Turkey. Jesus Corona, Espericueta and Julio Gomez are talented players that should make the difference in the Mexico vs Greece match.

Is Mexico the real deal? Well, they did a much better job at qualifying to the World Cup than their older counterparts have done so far. The U-20 Mexico squad won all 5 of its qualifying games, scoring 15 goals in the process while allowing just 1 goal. In the 2013 Toulon Tournament held before the World Cup, Mexico didn’t do as well however. Mexico won just a single match, drew twice, and lost once, failing to qualify to the semifinal.

Although Mexico was unable to defend its crown (Mexico won the previous edition of the Toulon Tournament), it has to be noted that this tournament had a match every 2 days. Meaning that Mexico’s top lineup did not compete in every match, and it was more of an opportunity for Coach Almaguer to try out different players and formations.

Mexico vs Greece Prediction

Mexico is a big favorite to win Group D, and will have the duty to attack. Greece will play a defensive match and try to score on a counterattacking play. The one true advantage the Greeks have is (almost) home support; Greece is a neighbor to Turkey, and we can expect to see many Greek fans in the stands. Nonetheless, Mexico has enough talent to earn the 3 points.

The Mexico vs Greece match will end in a 2-0 victory for El Mini Tri, which will put the squad just 1 more win away from moving on to the knockout stage.

Mexico vs Greece Television

The Mexico vs Greece match will be televised on ESPN and Univision Deportes on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM Pacific.