Julio Gomez scored 2 goals in the seminfinals
Mexico defeated Germany for the first time at any world cup at any level yesterday afternoon in sweltery Torreon. The 3-2 win puts Mexico into its second U17 final in six years. They will try to become the first hosts ever to win a U17 world cup as they square off against Uruguay, 3-0 winners over Brazil, this Sunday at what is expected to be a sold out Estadio Azteca.
It’s hard not to use hyperbole to describe how it happened, but it could not have been more dramatic.
Mexico took the lead only 3 minutes into the game with a header by Julio Gomez. Remember that name. But the Germans, well, being the Germans, weren’t going to let a silly little thing like a goal interfere with their plans. They got the equalizer through Samed Yesil. Remember that name. The German striker and the Ivory Coast’s Coulibaly Souleymane were the brightest stars of the tournament.
It was a movie we have seen before. The Germans go down, tie it up, and then take the lead. Which is what they did with only a half hour to go when Emre Can cut through the Mexican defense and slotted home.
The young Mexicans were no strangers to being down in the tournament, but North Korea is not Germany. Nevertheless, they clawed back into it. Jorge Espericueta’s 75th minute corner kick hit nothing but the inside edge of the post and went in. Gol Olimpico. The game was tied. It was to be the second best goal of the night.
Unfortunately, on the play, Julio Gomez butted heads with a German player and sustained a nasty gash on his noggin that started to bleed profusely. It was nasty. And it looked like Mexico was going to have fend off the Germans with 10.
Amazingly, the bloodflow was curtailed enough, the headdress was secured, and I guess the boy was not concussed, so on to the pitch he came. Hopefully, Gomez could help prevent one of those late game German miracles that seem to manifest themselves more often than not. He wasn’t fit enough to do anything else than stand in the way, right?
It was Mexico, though, not Germany that looked more willing to break the 2-2 deadlock, and came really close twice in the last five minutes. The last of which was parried off for another corner.
And then it happened.
Gomez, who only minutes earlier was getting his head mummified, saw an opening and took it… with a bicycle kick.
Mexico was up 3-2. All they had to do was endure 5 minutes of stoppage time against the team that has made a cottage industry of late game heroics.
It was the longest 5 minutes of their lives. Loose balls in the area, though, found their way on to Mexican feet, not German. Mexico held off the Germans. They were going to the Azteca.
I’ll admit it. It was a little weird to see the Mexicans dancing and the Germans crying. But it felt damn good. It doesn’t happen often, hell, ever. But it did last night in Torreon.