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U-17 WORLD CUP

Iraq 1-1 Mexico: FIFA U-17 World Cup Group F goals, match report

Mohammed Dawood gave Iraq a first-half lead, but Mexico levelled through Roberto de la Rosa early in the second 45 as it ended all square
Brazil - Belgium live online: World Cup 2018 quarter-final

Update:
Iraq 1-1 Mexico: FIFA U-17 World Cup Group F goals, match report
PIYAL ADHIKARYEFE

Mexico and Iraq opened up their 2017 Under-17 World Cup campaigns with a draw in Kolkata, as the men from the Middle East earned their first ever point at the tournament.

Twice winners of the U-17 world title and the current CONCAFAF U-17 champions, the Mexicans came into this Group F clash as favourites to defeat a side whose only previous finals appearance - in 2013 - had seen them lose all three games.

Dangerous Dawood gives Iraq a first-half lead

However, an Iraqi team buoyed by last year's Asian Football Confederation U-16 Championship triumph took a 16th-minute lead through the impressive and constantly menacing Mohammed Dawood.

Mohammed Dawood (front) celebrates with Mohammed Ridha after putting Iraq ahead against Mexico.
Full screen
Mohammed Dawood (front) celebrates with Mohammed Ridha after putting Iraq ahead against Mexico.PIYAL ADHIKARYEFE

On one of the many occasions on which Iraq sought to exploit Dawood's pace with through-balls in behind the Mexico backline, the Al-Naft striker ran in on goal, rounded goalkeeper César López and rolled the underdogs ahead.

Mexico equalise in dominant second-half display

But Mexico, who had the lion's share of the possession throughout, took a greater measure of control after half time, and Roberto de la Rosa sidefooted El Tri level in the 51st minute after being found in the box by Daniel López's pull-back.

Having beaten Chile 4-0 earlier in the day, England top the group after its first round of fixtures.

Iraq 1-1 Mexico: as it happened

Preview

Two-time world champions Mexico take on Asian champions Iraq as Groups E and F get underway today. Despite having landed in one of the tougher groups, Qahtan Al-Rubaye’s Iraq will be aiming to improve on their last finishes in the tournament – they exited at the group stage in the 2013 edition when they were also in the same group as Mexico and eventual champions Nigeria. Being back in India will conjure many happy memories for Iraq, who were crowned U16 AFC champions in Margao little over 12 months ago.

Mexico lifted the trophy for the first time in Peru in 2005 when the tournament featured just 16 teams – some of the promising young stars who were on the pitch in the final against Brazil included Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos and MarceloMexico were back on the winners’ podium in 2011, beating Uruguay on home soil to the delight of a packed Azteca.

Iraq team news

Qahtan Al-Rubaye has depth and quality in his 21-man squad and experience in captain Saif Khalid, who skippered the team to victory in their AFC triumphs at U14 and U16 level. Khalid models his game on Xavi and has been compared to ex-Iraq star Nashat Akram, another of his role models in the game.

Man to watch: Mohammed Dawood. In 16-year-old Mohammed Dawood, Iraq have a very talented and versatile striker who is comfortable playing in any of the forward positions. An intelligent player who reads the game well and reacts quickly to make sure he is always in goal-scoring positions. He’s got everything you’d look for in a quality forward – pace, strength, the confidence to improvise and heading ability. He’s gaining valuable experience in the Iraqi Premier League with Baghdad-based outfit, Al-Naft SC.

Mexico team news

Mexico coach Mario Arteaga has a wealth of experienced players in his squad with a handful of players already boxing above their weight in the Liga MX. Names such as Carlos Robles, Ián Jairo Torres, Daniel López and Roberto de la Rosa are advanced for their level and make El Tri a very well-balanced side. Arteaga has also called a player who was born in France but raised in Mexico – goalkeeper Víctor André Alcaráz Díaz who guards the net for Guadalajara’s Under-20s.

Man to watch: Diego Lainez. The young Club América midfielder, who first started kicking a ball about when he was four, has been on an upward trajectory since he first starred at international level with Mexico’s Under-13s. A left-footed, attacking midfielder, Lainez was handed his senior debut with the Águilas aged 16 years and eight months and appeared for the first time in the Liga MX just three days later. Incredibly skillful for his tender age, with the ball at his feet, Lainez is reminiscent of Isco, or some commenters go as far as likening him to a young Leo Messi! Like Messi Lainez likes to drift over the right wing and cut inside on his favoured left foot. He will be a real handful for Iraq’s defence on Sunday.

Iraq v Mexico live stream online: possible line-ups

Iraq: Ibadi; Habeeb, Matham, Muntadher, Ammar; Mohammed, Saif, Ridha, Alaa, Bassam; Kareem, Dawood.

Mexico: López; Adrián Vázquez, Robles, Olivas, Sandoval; Ruiz, Alexis Gutiérrez, Jairo Torres; Lainez, Daniel López, De la Rosa.

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