FIFA U17 World Cup: Unbeaten Iran bid adieu to Goa by knocking Mexico out after 2-1 win
Iran once again showed why they are certainly a force to reckon with at the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup. The Iranians defeated the CONCACAF champions Mexico 2-1 at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa. Just like the last match where they were awarded two early penalties, the team picked up where they left off from when Mohammed Ghaderi was fouled in the penalty box after a reckless tackle and they converted through Mohammed Sharifi.
Iran's rough and tough forward Allahyar Sayyad made use of his body strength and pace to take advantage of a wrong-headed ball that fell in his path to score Iran's second goal. The Mexicans pulled one back thanks to a sweet strike from their forward Alberto De La Rosa with a few minutes before halftime.
"We tried our best, but I would personally say it was the worst game because this is the game that knocked us out. We did play good football but we couldn't be clinical in front of goal,'' said Mexico's head coach Mario Arteaga who applauded his team's passion but regretted not being better in the finishing department.
''The fighting spirit of our team during this tournament was something I enjoyed. Over the last 20 months, we worked hard and we played 9 tournaments out of which we own 7 so we thought we prepared enough for the tournament, but unfortunately it wasn't enough'' said coach Arteaga.
While Iran's head coach Abbas Chamanian was quick to acknowledge that the game was the first time in the tournament that Iran were actually under pressure and actually looked like they would concede it again, saying: ''Yesterday I said we would have a tough match today and that's exactly what it was. When you reach these stages of the tournament everyone gives it their all on the pitch''
2-0 is always very dangerous after the opponent scored, the remainder of the game was very tough said Chamanian who admitted that Mexico were at the top of their game today, especially in the second half. He also added: ''Mexico has a really strong attack, especially their Number 19, he annoyed me a lot and was so good that I had to change a few tactics,'' referring to Mexico's star and skilful forward Diego Lainez who's being monitored by a lot of European clubs at the moment.
''The team was actually reorganized for today's game. Now in the final stages of the tournament, the teams will be tougher and we have to reorganize ourselves for each game. We need to improve our knowledge, tactics and mentality going into the next game'' said Chamanian whose team faces a tough test ahead in the quarter-final. Iran will take on Spain in Guwahati in their next game.