Wednesday 19 April 2017, 08:14

The decisive goal: Blanco bags Mexico's maiden title

  • Cuauhtemoc Blanco secures Mexico's first-ever FIFA trophy

  • Rafael Marquez with the assist

  • Blanco and Ronaldinho both finish with six goals

In 1999 Mexico won the FIFA Confederations Cup - their first major title - with two El Tri legends involved in the decisive goal.

The stakesMexico finished top of Group A thanks to victories over Saudi Arabia (5-1) and Bolivia (1-0) as well as a 2-2 draw with Egypt, before beating arch-rivals USA 1-0 in the semi-finals thanks to a Golden Goal from Blanco, of course.

Brazil managed to win all three group games, beating Germany (4-0), USA (1-0) and New Zealand (2-0). They only conceded their first two goals of the tournament in the semi-final against Saudi Arabia, but as the Seleçao scored eight times themselves it was of little consequence.

Having finished as runners-up at the previous FIFA World Cup™ Brazil were clear favourites ahead of the final, but Mexico went 2-0 up after around 30 minutes thanks to goals from Miguel Zepeda and Jose Manuel Abundis. Brazil equalised early in the second half, only for Zepeda to give Mexico the lead again almost straight away. Then came Blanco's big moment.

The decisive goalTwo legends of Mexican football linked up to bring the nation its first ever FIFA trophy. Rafael Marquez received the ball in midfield and lofted a magnificent pass into the right side of the penalty area for the onrushing Blanco, who skipped past Odvan with a superb dummy and smashed the ball into the far corner from 15 yards out. Brazil pulled a goal back to make it 4-3 just a minute later but were unable to get another.

Blanco went on to win the Silver Ball and Silver Boot for his efforts at the tournament.

The goalscorer Cuauhtemoc Blanco Bravo is without doubt one of the finest players Mexico has ever produced and he even has a trick named after him. Known as the 'Cuauhteminha', it involves gripping the ball between both feet and hopping between two defenders. He is a legend at Club America, where he played for 15 years between 1992 and 2007 (although he had a loan spell at Spanish side Real Valladolid, among others) and won the league title for the first time in 2005.

When he was 34, an age when footballers often retire, Blanco's spirit of adventure took him to the USA with Chicago Fire. He subsequently had stints at six other Mexican clubs before returning to Club America for one final match at the age of 43 in February 2016. He was named in the starting line-up for an official league game and was substituted off after 36 minutes, bringing the curtain down on his playing career.

They said "With that goal we wanted to get forward as quickly as possible. I was lucky I crossed the ball so well because it was with my weaker left foot. Blanco did really well and was able to finish. Cuauhtemoc was and is an idol in Mexico. He was a role model for all of us. He showed his qualities at that Confederations Cup." Rafael Marquez "I knew we would have to do one thing if we wanted to beat Brazil: score more than them. We knew that with Ronaldinho in their side they would get a few. But we had Cuauhtemoc and both players were very good. In the end both of them were at the top of the scorers' chart." Mexico coach Manuel Lapuente "I have wonderful memories of the final in the Azteca stadium because it's got a unique atmosphere. When I think back on all the success I've enjoyed throughout my career, winning the Confederations Cup in Mexico is right up there. It's a big deal for any player to win that title. I'll never forget it." Rafael Marquez *I*n the build-up to the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, will be taking a fortnightly trip down memory lane to remember a decisive strike to have lit up the competition.

*Recap:The decisive goal - Rasmussen on the break

Next up: Insatiable French win with their heads*