Thursday 24 November 2016, 02:26

Mexico's Flores ready to play family fortunes against USA

They have the same eyes and curly hair, and they both study medicine at the University of Notre Dame. They were both born on 31 January and they have lived together for the last 20 years. Despite all of that, the Flores twins are easy enough to tell apart, at least on the international football stage: Sabrina plays for USA, while Monica represents Mexico.

Both are still in contention at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016, after Mexico progressed from their group with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Venezuela and USA advanced with a 1-1 draw against Ghana. Now, as fate would have it, the sisters' teams will be facing one another in the quarter-finals.

"It feels weird," the defender told "It's happened once before, when we played against each other in the CONCACAF qualifying competition almost a year ago. It's a strange situation, but it doesn't matter, I'll always give my all without letting anything else bother me. I'm going to approach this match as just another challenge; I really don't care who's on the opposite side," she went on, the perfect picture of professionalism.

In these circumstances, one cannot help but wonder about how the pair's parents will react to seeing their daughters go head-to-head. However, Monica stressed that they will take it in their stride: "Generally our parents don't suffer when watching us. On the contrary, they get excited and support us both equally. They just want us to have a good game," she said with a chuckle.

A peculiar subplot With a place in the semi-finals at stake, the battle for sibling bragging rights is very much confined to a subplot. Indeed, where El Tri are concerned, there is the added motivation of the chance to break new ground, having never made it beyond the quarters of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in their six previous attempts.

"It blows my mind when I think about the possibility of achieving something so significant. We know that we're a good team, we just need to keep proving it one match at a time," said Monica. "Advancing from the group stage was a very big step, not just for us but in terms of showing the world who we are. It's amazing to be able to make all our fans happy – they've shown us so much affection during our three games so far."

The defensive starlet is determined to give the Mexican supporters something else to shout about and not to let anything stand in the way. Not even family. "It's going to be a bit strange talking to Sabrina before the game, so I'm going to try to keep the conversation short and stay focused on what I've got to do. Of course I'll go over and wish her good luck, though," she said. "May the best team win on the day," she added, although naturally she will be doing her utmost to dash her sister's hopes and ensure that it is El Tri who end up in the semis.