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2019 U17 World Cup, Semifinals
  • Efrain Alvarez (79')
  • Youri Regeer (74')
Mexico U17 win 4-3 on penalties
Mexico U17 win 4-3 on penalties

Mexico beats Netherlands on penalties to reach U17 World Cup final

Mexico players celebrate after beating Netherlands on penalties in the U17 World Cup. Getty Images

The LA Galaxy's Efrain Alvarez scored Mexico's late equalizer as El Tri advanced to the Under-17 World Cup final, drawing 1-1 against the Netherlands and winning 4-3 on penalties on Thursday in Brazil.

Alvarez came off the bench in the 73rd minute and curled a free kick over the wall to level the scores in the 79th, just five minutes after Youri Regeer had handed Netherlands the lead.

Regeer saw his penalty -- the Netherlands' sixth -- saved by Mexico keeper Eduardo Garcia, who stopped three penalties in total, to send Mexico to its third U17 World Cup final in the last eight years.

"We came to win and with a winning mentality," Garcia said after the game. "We all did our bit, not just one player, we all played our part."

Mexico will face the winner of host Brazil and France in Thursday's second semifinal, with the final set for Sunday, also in Brasilia.

"We go to win, to enjoy it and with the mentality that we want to win it," added Garcia.

The Netherlands had the better chances and 63% of possession over the 90 minutes, but spurned a series of good chances in the second half.

Regeer shot over when he was free inside the box in the 57th and saw an effort from a corner rebound off the crossbar five minutes later.

But Mexico responded to the setback of Regeer tapping in from close range, with Alvarez netting his fourth goal of the tournament to take the game to penalties.

Alvarez -- who drew praise from Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his season with the Galaxy -- attempted a Panenka with Mexico's first penalty, but it was easily saved by Netherlands keeper Calvin Raatsie.

Aside from Regeer, Jayden Braaf, and Mohamed Taabouni both failed to convert for the Netherlands, with Joel Gomez seeing his penalty saved for Mexico.