Thursday, October 1, 2020
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Coach Raul Gutierrez hails Mexico’s character

Dubai: Mexico coach Raul Gutierrez paid tribute to his players after the defending champions beat joint-record three-time winners Brazil 11-10 on penalties in the Fifa Under-17 World Cup quarter-final at Rashid Stadium on Friday.

The game went to a penalty shootout after Brazil’s Nathan cancelled out Ivan Ochoa’s 80th minute opener, with five minutes to spare, to end 90 minutes tied at 1-1.

Mexico keeper Raul Gudino then denied Mosquito after both sides were still inseparable after 12 rounds of penalties, before Alejandro Diaz scored the winner. Gudino had earlier saved Gabriel’s spot kick and scored his own penalty against his Brazilian counterpart Marcos to keep Mexico in the competition.

Gutierrez said: “We are very proud of all of them today, they demonstrated great personality. I’ve always said they are good players and just today they demonstrated how big and strong they are.

“It was a very tough match. Both teams worked hard and Brazil were attacking us too much, but our defence had a good performance and all the players did a good job fighting for every ball until we got it to penalties.”

Brazil coach Alexandre Gallo said: “Penalties weren’t what we wanted. I think we deserved something better from this competition but that’s football.

“With all due respect, our team was the best team in the competition but football is a sport of passion and because of that the best team doesn’t always win. Brazil was one of the most tactical teams in this competition, they had the most tactically organised system, most of the teams here were just playing defensive football, whereas Brazil played a strategic game.

“Mexico played great football and their defence was too good. When you start drawing attention to yourself in a competition, other teams start to study you and that’s what happened with Mexico, they studied Brazil a lot and Brazil tried to win, had too many chances but didn’t score.”

Mexico now progress to the semi-final, where they will play the winner of Saturday’s quarter-final between Argentina and the Ivory Coast. They got this far after beating Italy 2-0 in the second round after having finished second in Group F, recovering from an opening 6-1 loss to Nigeria with 3-1 and 1-0 wins over Iraq and Sweden.

Gutierrez said: “We have in mind winning this tournament but we must win every match. Every team in the semi-final will be tough and we need to respect them as they are all good contenders.

“We don’t consider it a failure if we are not the champions as we have a policy of being one of the last four teams in every tournament we play. But we start all tournaments thinking about being champions.”