Wednesday, 6 November 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019: Mexico beat Japan to set up Korea quarter-final

Joel Chima Fujita of Japan in action against Santiago Munoz of Mexico (R)

Eugenio Pizzuto and Santiago Munoz scored their first goals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 to crucially help lead Mexico to a deserved 2-0 victory over Japan in the Round of 16 at Estadio Bezerrao in Gama. After Japan goalkeeper Zion Suzuki looked unstoppable in the first half, Mexico's patience paid off as they became the first team to breach the Japanese goal at Brazil 2019. El Tri advance to the quarter-finals, where they will face Korea Republic, who themselves edged Angola 1-0 to book a last-eight spot.

It was a rather lacklustre performance on the whole from Japan in Gama with their standout performer being Suzuki in goal. The Japanese midfield, which had been superb throughout the group stage, were unable to take control of the match. Although Shunzuke Mito and Yamato Wakatsuki had a couple of chances, the Samurai Blue were never incisive enough with their finishing and never seriously troubled Eduardo Garcia's goal.

The two-time U-17 World Cup champions showed why they're one of the most successful nations at this age level. They created numerous chances against one of the tournament's most-respected defences. With Efrain Alvarez pulling the strings in midfield, El Tri regularly looked like a goal was around the corner. Pizzuto's goal came via deflection but Munoz' goal was impressive, placing a powerful shot into the far corner beyond a helpless Suzuki.

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