With all due respect to the other commentators in this U-20 World Cup, the key elements that really made the Mexico vs Portugal game so brilliant were Mexico and Gary Bloom. There were two compelling narratives happening in unison. One on the pitch, made up of Mexico's thrilling ball control, foot work, skill, speed, joie de vivre and as Bloom so aptly put, incredible ability to read each other; and two, from the broadcast booth with Bloom's wit, poeticism, knowledge, genuine enthusiasm, and the football vernacular. I could have listened to that game with my eyes closed and enjoyed it just as much!
Mexico from the get go against Gambia exhibited a freshness, determination and skill that captured me instantly. Though I stated before, I have always liked the Mexican nationals for many of the traits that are present in the new breed. But this youth team are even more compelling, extremely talented and cohesive, a unit. Portugal had fleeting moments of brilliance, put up a good fight but appeared frustrated, exasperated, worn out. Mexico, though slightly breathless and drenched in sweat, maintained unbelievable ball savvy, control, determination and looked like they were enjoying every minute of it - all in a day's work. What a great game. Individual players like Dos Santos, the goalie Blanca, Hernandez etc were great but their ultimate gift, I think, is how they play as a team.
I had so much faith in Canada against Austria. It'll happen, in time.
Tomorrow - the outcome of the group of death!