FIFA U17 World Cup: Mexico not worried about dropped points but thinking about next match
Mexican coach Mario Arteaga looked quite calm and unfazed after his side's comeback last night and already began thinking about the next match as he addressed the press in the post-match conference. "It's a draw, the boys did their best tonight. Iraq are a strong side and I'm satisfied with a point and our display tonight, matches like this will come but we have to always look forward," said Arteaga when asked whether it's three points lost or a point gained, the match between the two continental champions ended in a stalemate.
Acknowledging the fact that El Tri were wary of Iraq's threat with their star forward Mohammed Dawood, he said: "He's a strong, fast and smart player who can switch the game and we knew about his skills and thus prepared ourselves tactically. Iraq play on long balls and break through with speed. We thus tried to maintain a high defensive line and take care of their threats."
Dawood had given the AFC U-17 Champions a lead in the 16th minute of the match dismantling the Mexican high line and breaking through to swerve past the keeper in a one on situation and slotted the ball into the back of the net, but Mexico who seemed a bit jittery in the first half came back soaring in the second.
"It's not easy, the first match at such a big stage and then to be a goal down within the first 20 minutes.It's difficult. We knew this could happen and we knew we had to bounce back and push forward in the second half. We needed to score and that's what we did," said the coach when asked about his side second half rejuvenation.
Mexico ran forward with bursts of attack in the second half, as they looked to double their lead. They came close more than once but were denied by the efforts of the young Iraqi goalkeeper Ali Ibadi, who produced his best save when a denied forward Diego Laniez's effort in the 74th minute.
Iraq too had their fair share of chances but weren't clinical enough. But the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 champions look to have already put this result in the past and were focusing more on the task at hand which is high flying England. "They are a great team and have great players. Their victory tonight wasn't a surprise, but we are not afraid. We need to attack and go forward more and we hope to get a good result," said Arteaga as he finished the conference.
Mexico who take on England in their next Group F encounter on Wednesday will be hoping to clinch maximum points and heat up the competition for qualification.