The final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™ will pit ex-champions against one another. Thursday's semi-final results in Brasilia have produced a weighty showpiece set to feature three-time winners Brazil and North American juggernauts Mexico, who hold two titles of their own.
The early encounter at Estadio Bezerrao saw El Tri go toe-to-toe with European holders the Netherlands. The match finished 1-1 in regulation time, with the Dutch pulling ahead in the 74th minute before Efrain Alvarez's curling free-kick emphatically brought Mexico level five minutes later. Goalkeeper Eduardo Garcia's three stops in the penalty shoot-out cemented his side's fourth appearance in the final.
Hosts Brazil were forced to play catch-up against France when Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga and Nathanael Mbuku each scored inside the opening quarter-hour. Bolstered by a buzzing crowd, A Seleção grew into the game and equalised through Veron in the 76th minute. Then substitute Lazaro blasted the hosts ahead in the 89th minute, ensuring they earn the chance to contest a World Cup final on home soil.
📌 Memorable moments
Eduardo Garcia overcame serious adversity to star for Mexico against the Oranje. The Chivas youth player suffered an aerial collision with Naci Unuvar in the first half, jumping to claim the ball before the Netherlands forward interfered with him. Garcia was slow to his feet but persevered through the match and became a shoot-out hero, making three saves diving to his right.
Brazil's triumph over France was their seventh consecutive win at the U-17 World Cup, equalling a record they set two decades ago. Champions of both Egypt 1997 and New Zealand 1999, it would be fitting if Brazil were to establish a new benchmark while lifting the trophy as hosts.
Hosts turned champions
On the subject of U-17 World Cup hosts becoming champions, Brazil could become the second team ever to accomplish the feat. The first team will be standing in their way. Mexico downed Uruguay 2-0 in front of nearly 100,000 fans at Estadio Azteca to win their second U-17 title in 2011. Now El Tri will get to experience what it's like to be on the other side of the tie.
📅 Up next
Netherlands v France (Brasilia, 15:00 local time)
Mexico v Brazil (Brasilia, 19:00 local time)