FIFA U17 World Cup: Top 5 players in the Mexico vs Iraq match
AFC U-16 champions, Iraq met the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 champions yesterday night in Match #12. While Mexico are two-time winners and semi-finalists in the last edition, Iraq are yet to win a match in the FIFA U17 World Cup having lost all their group encounters in 2013 when they last participated. One of those losses was handed down by Mexico by a margin of 1-3.
Both the teams each have an outstanding talent, Jairo Torres for Mexico and Mohammed Dawood for Iraq who were judged the best player in their respective regional competitions.
Incidentally, Mexico had camped in Spain in preparing for the World Cup, a wish that Iraq too had harboured but couldn’t fulfil due to financial issues.
In the match, Iraq started off well and held their shape in the first half with a strike to show for their efforts. Mexico took the reins post half-time and marked their success with the equaliser.
Here are the top 5 players in that match.
Mohammed Dawood | Iraq | Forward
An exhilarating fresh breath, he came to the completion with six goals to his name and was listed as the top 30 talents in this tournament. His reputation manifested early – in the 16th minute to be precise when he managed to hoodwink the back line of defence and slither one past the custodian.
Even in the second half when Iraq slowed down, Dawood upheld his attacking intent managing to keep the opponent’s keeper, Cesar Lopez, notably in the 66th minute.
He is fast, sharp, self-less and most importantly clever, knowing which spaces to go, which spaces to open. If the squad manages to provide him with a decent support line, more goals can be expected.
The only black spot in an otherwise sparkling performance would be his yellow card that he saw for simulation during the rain-marred end of the game in the 81st minute.
Cesar Lopez | Mexico | Goalkeeper
If he had an iffy day in the office, Mexico could have been broken beyond repair. When defender Alan Meda botched up in the 49th minute, he took the calculated risk of abandoning his line to force Mohammed Ridha who had a clear sighting of the vacant net to let out a whimper. His next major save occurred in the 66th minute when accounted in equal measure for he had to counter the force that Dawood had become.
Ali Ibadi | Iraq | Goalkeeper
Just as Dawood would be trusted with scoring, Ibadi could be vested with trying to restrict the same with blind-faith. A 23rd-minute reflex, though later rendered ineffective due to offside, set us up about his prowess.
Mexico could have evened out in the 39th minute if he had not deflected Captain, Carlos Robles’ header resulting from an Alexis Gutierrez's curling effort aimed at the top-left corner from a set-piece.
There were some collects and fist-offs, but midfielder Diego Lainez’s pile-driver in the 72nd minute is worth reckoning. Four minutes later came another save to help maintain the status-quo. His effective punch was brought into action again in the 85th minute to stave off Alexis Gutierrez's well-placed free kick.
Roberto De La Rosa | Mexico |Forward
Easily Mexico’s most effective player he perhaps rehearsed his equalizer by latching onto a dishy cross only to rumble the woodwork in the 32nd minute. It did take his opportunistic mien to capitalize on the Iraq’s 51st minute and thus far only defensive lapse, courtesy Abdulabbas Ayad’s failed clearance of a seemingly innocuous pass.
In soccer ultimately results steals a march over effort.
Diego Lainez | Mexico | Midfielder
It is not surprising that the timeline of Lainez’s game highlights is towards the close of play. He was having a decent run till he came to his own about twenty minutes to go.
If you have not jumped the sequence, you would know that Ibadi had to fend off Lainez’s assertive strike in the 72nd minute. Four minutes later the attacking midfielder was seen dancing his way precariously down the left flank to create hope for a positive resolution. He carried his late-blooming momentum even into the added time when the game got scrappy due to steady drizzling.
Those were the top 5.
Honorable mentions may go to –
Muntadheer Mohammed | Iraq | Defender
Daniel Lopez | Mexico | Forward
Alexis Gutierrez | Mexico |Midfielder
Jairo Torres | Mexico | Forward