The Mexico vs Greece U-20 World Cup match looked to be heading into a comfortable draw for both teams, until an 88th minute shot gave Greece the 2-1 victory. The Greeks played the way their senior squad does: a solid defensive foundation, strong midfield, and creating few scoring opportunities. Mexico dominated possession and had several (very easy) scoring opportunities, but the misses have cost them the loss today.
Mexico came into the game as a heavy favorite to win it, and should be disappointed with the opening match loss. Nonetheless, qualification to the knockout stages of the U-20 World Cup is still a possibility, as 16 out of the 24 teams participating will play in the Round of 16. The loss in the Mexico vs Greece match might serve as a wake-up call for El Mini Tri, who will now be forced to at least get 4 points in their following matches against Mali and Paraguay (the four best 3rd placed teams move on to the Round of 16).
The first shock of the game came when Greece opened the scoring with a goal from Bouchalakis in the 8th minute. It would prove to be Greece’s only scoring opportunity in the first half. Mexico dominated possession for the rest of the half, but was unable to create any clear scoring opportunities. It wasn’t until a fantastic free kick goal (40th minute) from Espericueta that Mexico was able to tie the game at 1-1.
Mexico’s second half performance was a big improvement over the first, Mexico dominated possession, created several scoring opportunities (two which were ridiculous misses), and looked to be in control of the match. However, with about 20 minutes left in the Mexico vs Greece match, it looked as though both teams had settled for the 1-1 draw.
The draw would be broken up by Kolovos, who scored an 88th minute goal that would prove to be the winner. Sloppy defending by the Mexicans caused the goal, the defenders allowed Kolovos to handle the ball, turn around, and blast a shot into the top of the net (all while 5 defenders looked at him).
Mexico’s Group D opening loss does not really jeopardize their chances in the U-20 World Cup. 4 points should prove to be enough to move on to the Round of 16. Nonetheless, for a squad that has been anointed by the media to make a deep run in the tournament, it has to be a disappointment to start off with a loss. However, the Mexico vs Greece match might prove to be just what Mexico needed to energize and motivate the squad.
What are your thoughts on the Mexico vs Greece match?