New Zealand are out of the FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup after losing their final group game 4-0 to a classy Mexico side.
The New Zealanders started the game well, and finished well.
But goals either side of the half-time break punctured whatever hopes remained of a win for the New Zealanders, and a possible Round of 16 tie.
Main photo: The Mexico players know they’re on the way to the Round of 16.
The match in Bandung, Indonesia, was delayed 45 minutes due to an electrical storm, and the threat of lightning.
The pitch drained quickly but remained slippery, particularly in the first half.
Both sides quickly settled into patterns with Mexico allowing New Zealand as much ball as they liked in their own half.
The New Zealanders patiently moved the ball around the back, waiting for chances to probe forward.
Mexico waited for possession and then broke quickly, looking dangerous.
New Zealand were gifted an early chance when Mexican ‘keeper Paolo Bedolla lost his bearings outside the penalty area and Adam Watson suddenly found himself 40 metres out with the goal unguarded. His snap shot drifted wide of the goal.
New Zealand’s fate was sealed in the few minutes before and after the interval.
In the 42nd minute, Mexico’s Fidel Barajas attacked down the left and he evaded a couple of tackles, cutting inside.
He found space to shoot from 30 metres and his low drive skimmed the damp pitch, bouncing off the hand of diving goalkeeper Matt Foord, and into the net.
Mexico came out for the second half at full speed.
Adrian Fernandez de Lara got goalside of Matt D’Hotman and slid his shot past Foord, causing mass celebrations between Mexico’s players and substitutes who were warming up beside the pitch.
In the 54th minute, Mexico went three goals up when Brandon Lomeli drove hard to the byline and pulled the ball back for Stephano Carillo to stab the ball into the net.
The lead fired up Mexico who played with increasing confidence, taking on New Zealand defenders at every opportunity.
To their credit, the New Zealanders continued to work hard and did their best to stem the tide.
But the Mexicans were simply too good.
In the 66th minute, they broke from deep and Foord was forced to lunge into a poor tackle, bringing down his man.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot and showed Foord the yellow card.
Carillo sent Foord the wrong way to make it 4-0.
In the 73rd minute, Luke Mitchell had a clear shot on goal but was ruled to be offside.
New Zealand had a good spell, getting a couple of crosses into the box with players forward, but they couldn’t get a shot on target.
Substitute Ryan Lee shot from outside the box, dragging it wide of the post.
Then, Luke Supyk finally got a shot on target, but goalkeeper Bedolla was at full stretch to block it.
As the clock ran down, the New Zealanders were still pushing forward and the last 15 minutes of the game was arguably the best period of their time in Indonesia.
In stoppage time, Foord made an excellent diving save.
Many of the New Zealand players looked desolate at the final whistle, an indication of their effort.
Coach Martin Bullock’s post-match reaction
New Zealand / Mexico
Shots: 4 / 10
Shots on target: 0 / 2
Possession: 39% / 46% / 15% in contest
Passes: 205 / 226
Pass accuracy: 80% / 85%
Fouls: 1 / 2
Offsides: 1 / 3
Corners: 2 / 2
New Zealand / Mexico
Shots: 12 / 18
Shots on target: 1 / 7
Possession: 40% / 43% /
Passes: 393 / 396
Pass accuracy: 81% / 83%
Fouls: 4 / 5
Offsides: 2 / 3
Corners: 5 / 2
Game played on Saturday November 18, 2023 (NZT)
Si Jalak Harupat Stadium, Bandung
New Zealand 0
Mexico 4 (Fidel Barajas 42′, Adrian Fernandez de Lara 47′, Stephano Carrillo 54′, 67′ pen)
Germany 3 (Robert Ramsak 1′, 57′, Eric Moreira 42′)
Matt Foord, Luka Coveny, Dylan Gardiner, Noah Dupont (Jesper Edwards 62′). Marley Leuluai (captain), Matt D’Hotman (Ryan Lee 70′), Nicholas Murphy (Nathan Walker 55′), Luke Mitchell, Stipe Ukich (Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues 55′, Adam Watson (Anaru Cassidy 70′), Luke Supyk
Subs not used: Joshua Brown, Eamonn McCarron, Anton Isaako, Paris Domfeh, Athan Thompson
Yellow card: Foord (66′)
Head coach: Martin Bullock
Assistant coach: Aaron Clapham
Goalkeeper coach: Daniel Knight
Paolo Bedolla, Luis Navarrete, Javen Romero, Daniel Vazquez, Adrian Fernandez De Lara (Jose Suarez 65′), Isaac Martinez, Brandon Lomeli, Gael Alvarez (Tahiel Jimenez 55′), Fidel Barajas (Francisco Valenzuela 71′), Luis Ortiz (Jose Urias 65′), Stephano Carrillo (Mateo Levy 71′)
Subs not used: Fernando Delgado, Roberto Moreno, Kevin Garcia, Adrian Pelayo, Manuel Sanchez
Head coach: Raul Chabrand
Assistant coach: Alberto Rodrigues
Assistant coach: Alex Diego
Goalkeeper coach: Rafael Cuevas
Referee: Omar Mohamed Al Ali (United Arab Emirates)
Assistant: Jasem Abdulla Al Ali (United Arab Emirates)
Assistant: Saeed AL Marzooqi (United Arab Emirates)
Fourth official: Thoriq M Alkatiri (Indonesia)
VAR: Fedayi San (Switzerland)
Assistant VAR: Kate Jacewicz (Australia)