U-17 World Cup: Mexico’s young guns have trophy on their minds

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Kolkata, Oct 6 (IANS) From striker Jairo Torres, who was top scorer at the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championships in April, to left-back Raul Zavala, all of Mexico’s players believe a win in their campaign opener against Iraq in Group F of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Sunday has to end with them lifting the title.

Mexico are hot favourites not only to topple the Asian champions but also top the group owing to their past record in the tournament.

The ‘El Tri’ have won the trophy twice (2005, 2011) and will be eyeing a third crown along with Brazil, Ghana and France.

Iraq, on the contrary have participated only once before in the youth meet, in 2013, bowing out in the group stages.

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“I practised a lot for this tournament and to play in it and win the tournament,” Torres, who was brilliant throughout the continental meet in Panama earlier this year, told reporters on the sidelines of Mexico’s practice session here.

“I thank God that we won that (CONCACAF meet) and I am all set for this one,” the 17-year old, who plays for Club Atlas and is a big fan of Brazil star Neymar, said.

Among the Mexicans, Real Betis midfielder Andres Guardado is his favourite.

“I am very enthusiastic but also feeling a bit nervous before the first match against Iraq. I am looking forward to the game,” left-back Raul Zavala said.

On the group which also houses England and Chile, Zavala added: “Not even a single competitor is easy. We have practised a lot to win the matches.”

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Torres’ foil on the pitch, Roberto Carlos De la Rosa González, said his combination with the former up front won’t be difficult as the entire team has one mantra and that is to win the competition.

“All the players in the team work with good combination. I and Jairo have the same objective as the team so it’s not difficult for us to combine up front,” he said.

“I am very positive and enthusiastic two days before tournament and we are all set to hit the ground running,” he added.

Midfielder Gamíz Ávila said this is his first World Cup and he has no aim other than laying hands on the coveted crown.

“It’s a good moment for sure. This is the first time I am going to play and I want to win the Cup,” he said.

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He said the sultry conditions here is not a problem as they have prepared a lot to face such adversities.

“It’s very hot and humid here. But we are used to any weather as we have prepared for it and we have worked hard to acclimatise to the conditions here,” the midfielder remarked.

On Iraq, Avila said: “It’s a very important one for us. We want to win the match and start the tournament on a high.”



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