An impressive Australia have drawn 0-0 with Mexico in their second Group C game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chillan, Chile.
In the end, three world-class saves from Mexico and LA Galaxy goalkeeper Abraham Romero denied the Joeys the three points in a much-improved performance.
It was an end-to-end opening 15 minutes, with Joeys goalkeeper Duro Dragicevic called into action early on, saving well.
Shortly after, the Joeys earned a string of free kicks with set-piece specialist Jake Brimmer stepping up to the plate. His second effort did not disappoint; a curling free kick forcing a great save from Romero to tip Brimmer’s shot wide.
As the first half went on, the Mexicans began to take control of the game.
Their best chance of the half came at the half hour mark through Eduardo Aguirre.
Jose Gurrola found the striker on the right-hand side of the penalty area, and Aguirre connected sweetly, only to see his shot cannon back off of the post and out of play.
The last ditch defence didn’t stop there for the Joeys, with Mexico having another golden opportunity to take the lead early on with a goalmouth scramble that was amazingly defended by the Australians.
Mexico went into the half time break well and truly on top of the match.
That’s where the dominance stopped for the Mexicans; the Aussies came out firing in the second period.
Straight from kick-off, the Joeys walked through a non-existent defence with some quick, short passing only for Nicholas Panetta’s final effort to skew just wide to the left of Romero’s goal.
It was all Australia’s way after that, with the Joeys taking control of the match.
Romero once again made himself Australia’s villain, with a world class point-blank save after Kye Rowles connected with a header from six yards. The LA Galaxy keeper was up to the task, parrying the effort over the bar.
Mexico began to find their feet again towards the end of the second half, but failed to make any clear-cut chances.
The Joeys had one final chance to take the points when Joshua Hope was fouled 25-yards out. Substitute Panos Armenakas stepped up to take the free kick.
His effort looked destined for the top corner, only for Romero to brilliantly send his shot around the post, and earn a point for Mexico.
The much-improved performance was a far cry from Australia’s opening 4-1 loss to Germany.
The Joeys will now play Argentina in their final group stage match on Sunday morning, where they’ll need a win to earn a place in the knockout stages.
Argentina will also be desperate for a win after a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Germany.
Catch all the action as Australia takes on Argentina for a place in the Round of 16 live and exclusive on SBS One from 8.45am AEDT.
Australia XI: 1. Duro DRAGICEVIC, 16. Jonathan VAKIRTZIS, 14. Josh LAWS, 4. Kye ROWLES, 5. Jackson BANDIERA, 6. Joe CALETTI ©, 10. Josh HOPE, 8. Jake BRIMMER (19. Charlie DEVEREUX 70’), 11. Lucas DERRICK, 17. Nicholas PANETTA (7. Panos ARMENAKAS 50’), 15. Cameron JOICE (9. Pierce WARING 81’)
Statement: Optus' FIFA World Cup™ coverage
Like all football fans in Australia, FFA has been very disappointed by the technical problems which have so affected the FIFA World Cup coverage by Optus. Optus’ broadcasting agreement is with FIFA not FFA, but FFA is receiving regular updates from both Optus and SBS to see wh
Opponent Watch: Denmark midfielder ruled out of FIFA World Cup™
France have played out a difficult training game against an Under-19 club opponent while Denmark have seen one of their key midfielders ruled out of the tournament with an injury. Plus the latest on Peru in this edition of Opponent Watch. DAY 29 WRAP: France game dissected
Revealed: What Jedinak said to Socceroos teammates after loss
Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak has explained what he said to teammates in a huddle following the narrow 2-1 loss to France at the FIFA World Cup™. Jedinak, who scored Australia’s goal from the penalty spot, was picked in midfield alongside Aaron Mooy and the duo produced a ste
The star a nation is built around: Denmark's key men
Denmark is the next name on the Socceroos’ list as they head to Samara for the second Group C fixture on Thursday night (AEST) – you can catch it at 10pm AEST on SBS and Optus Sport. Ranked 12th in the world, Denmark finished second in their qualifying group behind Poland and