Untouchable

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Mexico got their win and New Zealand scored their goal yesterday at Commonwealth Stadium.

Mexico defeated New Zealand 2-1 becoming the only team to win all three group games at the Under-20 World Cup.

New Zealand lost all three group matches.

"We completed our objective through the first three games of the first round," said Mexican head coach Jesus Ramirez. "We wanted to give all of our players an opportunity to play. The only player that didn't get any playing time was our third-string goaltender. It was good that all the other players got an opportunity to play in a World Cup."

SAT REGULARS

Mexico sat six regular starters in the contest including star striker Giovani dos Santos. All six players had picked up yellow cards in their first two groups and were being protected by their head coach. Two yellow cards in the group stage and a player must serve a one-game suspension.

Heading into the second round all yellow cards are wiped out.

"We had to protect those players with yellow cards, but I had already decided that the players who hadn't played up to now were going to get an opportunity," Ramirez said. "I think they did well, especially those who were playing in their first game. It's good that we had already qualified for the first round because we were able to play everyone."

Christian Bermudez, who had not played in Mexico's first two games, opened the scoring in the 24th minute converting a rebound past New Zealand goaltender Jacob Spoonley. The goal was the only one of the half.

"It's always a dream to score a goal in a World Cup, so I'm very happy," said Bermudez. "It was good that team could go out and play well and win.

"It's nice that we were able to win the group and be the only team so far to have won all three of our games."

In the second half, Osmar Mares put Mexico up 2-0 converting a cross from Jose Guerrero in the 78th minute. With two minutes left in the contest, New Zealand's captain Jack Pelter scored his team's first goal of the tournament.

Pelter was in the right spot as Mexico's backup goaltender Rodolfo Cota batted the ball right into his path.

SPECIAL MOMENT

"It was something special to score in a World Cup, especially in my first appearance," Pelter said.

"It was really awesome and special and something that I'll cherish for the rest of my life. I guess I should have tried to go for a hat trick so we would have been able to go to the next round. It's disappointing not to be able to get through especially the way we played in the second half."

With the loss, New Zealand was eliminated from the tournament. Mexico will now play Congo in Montreal in their second round game.

"This team was expected to do well in this tournament," said Mares.

"Thankfully things have gone our way so far. I think if we continue respecting our opponents and playing with confidence we'll do well."


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