The Mexico vs Mali FIFA U-20 World Cup ended in a surprising 4-1 victory for the tricolor. Surprising not by the 3 points earned by the Mexicans, but rather, by the goal scoring difference which now has Mexico alive in the competition. With the 4-1 goal win, Mexico now has 3 points, ended 3rd in Group D, and has a plus-one goal differential.
The tricolor went into the match against Mali knowing that the chance of them qualifying into the next round were very slim. Coach Sergio Almaguer knew his offense had not played finely in its first two matches as Mexico’s only goal had come via a majestic free kick from Jorge Espericueta in the first game. Therefore, Almaguer’s starting lineup had a few offensive changes as opposed from the first games and aligned Raul Lopez from the start.
Right away, Mexico had luck going their way, as in the 1st minute Mali’s goalkeeper made an erroneous kick which landed on Marco Bueno, putting the score an an early 1-0. Several minutes later, on a set pieces Jesus Corona made a great header to end the first half at 2-0.
Mali played more aggressive in the 2nd half just as Mexico released pressure on the attack. On the 62nd minute Diallo took a long shot which Mexican keeper Richard Sanchez could not control, putting the match at 2-1. At that point, things seemed very negative for the tricolor as they had to score two more goals in a match which they had lost the control. Almaguer quickly made three offensive changes which influenced the tired opposing defense.
Mexico played a quck counter-attack system on the last 30 minutes of the match which was very effective as Mali grew tired, and their defense was a no-show. In the 69th minute Escoboza scored the 3-1 goal, and in the 86th Luna made the ending 4-1 score.
Mexico with life as they rout Mali 4-1
With this score, Mexico moved in fron of Group A’s 3rd place team, Ghana. That means ‘el tri’ has to have better numbers than four other 3rd place teams (South Korea from Group B has 4 points) in order to qualify into the next round. The most realistic way this could happen is if Colombia defeats El Salvador, meaning Mexico will go through via goal differential.