Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/5/13
Mexico celebrates after beating Brazil in a memorable penalty shootout in the FIFA under 17 World Cup, Getty Images Basking in glory is El Tri’s youth squad, as for the third time running it has reached the final of the under 17 World Cup held this year in the United Arab Emirates. El Tri looks hungry to retain its title. A dominant performance over Argentina in the semifinal has lead Mexico to a much anticipated rematch against Nigeria; a team that humiliated El Tri in the group stage with a 6-1 trouncing in Al Ain. Mexico started the competition miserably but has since then regained equilibrium in its play. Acquiring a much-deserved spot in the final with victories over Italy, Brazil, and Argentina in the knockout stages. Surviving an unforgettable penalty shootout against the Verde-Amarela in the quarterfinal of the competition. El Tri has done well to recover from its nightmare debut against Nigeria. But now the tide seems to have come full circle and El Tri is once again face-to-face with Nigeria. Nigeria has been a monstrous opponent throughout the competition. Handing out beatings left and right. No one has come close to fazing the super eagles just yet. But if anyone were to punish Nigeria it would have to be the reigning champions. It’s a remarkable contrast what the youth level is doing in comparison to the senior squad. One would assume that the influx of talent that Mexico is producing would transition well to the senior level, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. There is no denying that Mexico’s youth system is one of the best in the world. But the rising dilemma seems to take place once the youth transcend that system. Particularly when they migrate to Europe. It’s a difficult transition to Europe as it is a competitive region that has young talent already flourishing to the best of their abilities. A player that doesn’t adapt quickly always falls in the ranks. Europe isn’t the place to go to be nourished as a football player it’s a place that is already going to expect quality. Europe is where many young players not just Mexican fall victim to a lack of playing time because they are not ready mentally or physically. But that does not mean they don’t have the potential to be great. Some European teams just don’t have the time to nourish a player. Mexico’s youth system is proof that sometimes, talented young players will not surpass that threshold. Mexico’s youth will sadly fall and fail to grow. There is no telling what Mexico’s remedy is. But should Mexico win another World Cup at the youth level fans will certainly question why its international success continues to end at 17.      

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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