Has Mexico Left the U.S. in the Dust?

Mexico won the Under-17 World Cup on Sunday, just two weeks after El Tri’s senior team won the Gold Cup in convincing fashion over the United States.

Here are the highlights of the U-17 final, a 2-0 win for Mexico over Uruguay:

The game took place in front of more than 100,000 fans at Azteca Stadium, and delivered a second U-17 World Cup title to Mexico, following junior El Tri’s triumph in the 2005 tournament, when they routed no less an opponent than Brazil 3-0 in the final.

Four players from that 2005 team, led by Giovanni Dos Santos, made up a chunk of the 2011 Gold Cup–winning team, and the star of the ’05 youngsters, Arsenal winger Carlos Vela, is still very much in the mix for the Mexican senior team, even though he didn’t play in the Gold Cup.

The current U-17 team figures to stock the senior team in years to come, too. Their route to the World Cup title could hardly have been more impressive: they beat European champions the Netherlands, a very strong French team, and Germany, the most dominant team in the tournament up until its 3-2 semifinal loss to El Tri.

By way of comparison, Germany eliminated the U.S. with a 4-0 stomping in the Round of 16.

So that’s a Gold Cup title, and a second U-17 world championship for Mexico, while the U.S. lost to Panama in Gold Cup group play, surrendered a 2-0 lead to Mexico in the final, and, after barely squeaking into the knockout stage of the U-17 World Cup, were routed by a team Mexico would later eliminate.

How did Mexico open up such a gap on U.S. soccer in such a short time?

We’re not sure, but it could get worse before it gets better: At the end of the month, Mexico will compete in the U-20 World Cup in Colombia.

The U.S., you may recall, failed to qualify for that competition.


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