Photo Credit: Pakawich Damrongkiattisak – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

New Zealand’s adventure at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup™ in Indonesia has come to an end following a 4-0 defeat to Mexico in their final group stage match.

Having suffered two defeats in their opening matches, Martin Bullock’s side knew they needed a victory against Mexico in Bandung to have any chance of advancing to the Round of 16.

Any last minute nerves may have taken longer to dissipate due to a delayed kick-off however. Heavy rainfall at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium meant a 45 minute stoppage before kick-off could commence.

The pitch undoubtedly suffered as a consequence of the deluge. Passing was slower and the ball was held up by the soggy surface as the opening exchanges had a laboured feel to them.

The Kiwis almost managed to hold out to half-time but were undone by an excellent piece of work by Fidel Barajas – cutting in from the left and firing an effort from the edge of the box that proved too powerful for Matt Foord in the New Zealand goal.

Adrian Fernandez De Lara made it two early in the second-half, as Mexico upped the tempo with a victory for them vital. Stephano Carrillo was the architect, dancing along the byline before cutting back for Fernandez De Lara to tuck home.

Carrillo himself secured the win and grabbed the goal his performance deserved in the 54th minute. This time, he was the recipient of excellent wide play, with Brandon Lomeli the provider for Mexico’s number 9.

The fourth Mexican goal came from the penalty spot. Carrillo was brought down by ‘keeper Foord when through on goal and dusted himself down before confidently slotting his effort low, into the corner.

Luke Supyk had an excellent opportunity to pull one back for New Zealand and give them what would have been a first goal from open play in their campaign. The forward denied by an outstanding close-range save by Paolo Bedolla from a handful of yards out.

New Zealand: 0
Mexico: 4 (Fidel BARAJAS 42′, Adrian FERNANDEZ DE LARA 47′, Stephano CARRILLO 54′, (P) 67′)

HT: 0-1