Spain’s soccer players qualified for the quarterfinals of the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey with a 2-1 win against Mexico on Tuesday.
A last-minute goal from Real Madrid Castilla’s Jesé sealed the victory, which takes Spain into a last eight meeting with either Nigeria or Uruguay.
Julen Lopetegui’s team, which had qualified for the knockout phase with three wins out of three in the group stages, was forced to come back from a goal behind after the Mexicans began in bright style — an impeccable volley from Arturo González giving them the lead after just two minutes on the field.
Many believed the encounter between the two well-regarded teams had arrived too early in the competition — the result of Mexico’s unexpectedly poor performance in the group stages.
It wasn’t until after halftime that Spain’s players started to combine better and faster, but with Mexico playing its best match of the tournament so far they struggled to draw level.
The breakthrough finally came after 73 minutes, when Real Madrid Castilla’s Derik directed Denis Suárez’s ball into the net.
With Spain’s nerves at last settled it enjoyed several more chances, but it wasn’t until injury time that Jesé finally found the path to victory. It was the young star’s fifth goal of the tournament so far.