Sunday 17 November 2019, 11:00

Denilson: Brazil were too confident in 2005 final

  • Brazil and Mexico set to contest U-17 World Cup crown for first time in 14 years

  • Mexicans taking heart from their victory in 2005

  • Denilson, Brazil’s captain in that 2005 match, looks back on it with

The rivalry between Brazil and Mexico has intensified in the last 20 years, with the two countries contesting finals at three major tournaments in that time, including the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2005™. All three of those finals went the way of the Mexicans, a statistic that provides an interesting backdrop to Sunday’s Brazil 2019 showpiece in Brasilia.

Mexico won the first of their two world titles in the age group at Peru 2005, beating the Brazilians 3-0 in the final at the Estadio Nacional in Lima, with their goals coming from Carlos Vela, Omar Esparza and Ever Guzman.

A Seleção’s captain that day was Denilson. Reflecting on the match with, he had a revealing admission to make.

“When we qualified for the final we knew we’d be playing Mexico,” he said. “Though we respected them, some teams and some players thought it was a foregone conclusion, and that’s how it was with us. We knew we had to play and we had to fight, but in our minds we thought the game was ours. As it turned out, it wasn’t.

“Giovani (dos Santos) was the difference between the teams,” added the skipper, recalling a bad first half for the Brazilians. “When Carlos Vela got the first goal it was a big mental blow for us. And when they then scored the second we just lost it. Mexico fought hard as a team and deserved to win.”

The Brazil line-up for that match – the country’s last appearance in an U-17 World Cup final prior to Sunday – featured several players who would go on to have successful professional careers, among them Marcelo of Real Madrid, and Anderson, formerly with Manchester United.

As for Denilson, he signed for London giants Arsenal, where Mexico’s Vela was his team-mate. The two Gunners often spoke about that 2005 final, as the Brazilian explained: “Whenever we discussed it there was always a joke and a laugh. It was all in good humour and I enjoyed being a team-mate of his.”

This time around, Denilson will be cheering Brazil on from home. “The only game I’ve seen so far was the quarter-final against Italy, but when I saw they’d be playing Mexico it brought back memories of 2005. I’ll be watching Sunday’s final with my wife and daughter.”

Hector Herrera of Mexico and Marcelo of Brazil in 2012  Men's Olympic Football Final - Brazil v Mexico

🏆 The other two finals

FIFA Confederations Cup Mexico 1999

A crowd of over 110,000 packed into the Estadio Azteca for what was an epic final between a Brazil side featuring the likes of Ronaldinho, Dida, Alex and Ze Roberto and a Mexico team led by Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Miguel Zepeda struck a brace for the hosts in their 4-3 win, with the inimitable Blanco and Jose Manuel Abundis also getting on the scoresheet, while Brazil’s goals came from. Serginho, Roni and Ze Roberto.

Men’s Olympic Football Tournament London 2012

The legendary Wembley Stadium hosted the Olympic final in 2012, a match Brazil were expected to win, not least because they had Neymar, Marcelo and Thiago Silva in their ranks. Yet the star of the show was Mexico’s Oribe Peralta, who scored both El Tri goals in a 2-1 win that secured their first ever Olympic football gold medal. Hulk was Brazil’s scorer.

⚽️ U-17 World Cup

2009 and 2013

The two countries have met twice in the U-17 World Cup since that 2005 final. In 2009, a Miguel Basulto goal gave Mexico a 1-0 win in the group phase, and the Mexicans also edged the 2013 meeting in the quarter-finals, triumphing on penalties after Ivan Ochoa and Nathan had scored in a 1-1 draw.