Mexico players (pictured) seen prior to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Round of 16 match against Senegal on June 1, 2017, in Incheon, Korea Republic. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
INCHEON, Korea Republic – Mexico reached the FIFA 2017 Under-20 World Cup quarterfinals for a sixth time thanks to Thursday’s 1-0 win over Senegal in the Round of 16.
On June 5, the Tricolor will meet England for a place in the final four, hoping to reach that stage for a second time and first since the competition’s inaugural edition in 1977.
Head coach Marco Antonio Ruiz was delighted to get past a Senegal side that had conceded only once in the group stage -- 1-0 loss to the CONCACAF champion United States.
“It was a classic Round of 16 match,” the 47-year-old said. “We knew it was going to be difficult, that it was going to be a match that had to be worked. You had to have patience. We knew the opponent’s virtues, a physically strong side, who are fast and skilled.
“We had to take the game to them, create our chances and be decisive and in the end we got our reward.”
England, which edged Costa Rica 2-1 to progress, will be a difficult proposition. It is unbeaten in the competition with a 3W-1D-0L record.
“An equally difficult match, now that it is in a tighter phase of the tournament,” remarked Ruiz about facing off against the English. “We faced England twice during this cycle in two matches that went for Mexico, but, logically, it’s nothing more than a reference. We’ll have to analyze their last performances in the competition and plan the match around that.”
With four days in between matches, Ruiz will be looking to see how his players recover.
"In regards to fitness, we have to recuperate the boys well because it has been a very demanding tournament, and try to put together the best eleven available, in accordance with the game plan that we assemble against the English,” he finished. “But there is no doubt that this team is going to do everything humanly possible to reach the next round.”