An international match between Northern Ireland and Mexico under-19 squads turned violent after the teenagers got involved in a brawl that saw multiple players get hurt and some get sent off from game held in the Northern Ireland Youth Soccer Tournament at the Coleraine Showgrounds in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland got the last laugh in this one as they notched the 2-1 victory in the controversial match. They also moved on to the final of the Milk Cup tournament after an earlier win over China, 2-0 last Monday. They will face the team from Canada in the championship round.
Northern Ireland's win stopped Mexico's hopes of winning three straight championships in the Elite (U-19) age-group after the Mexicans won the Milk Cup titles in 2012 and 2013. Northern Ireland is gunning for their third title after back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009.
Meanwhile, the Canadian youth is aiming for their first title ever in this tournament.
Both the Northern Ireland and Mexico squads weren’t spared from sanctions from FIFA and the Milk Cup organising committee.
“After last evening’s disgraceful scenes at Coleraine Showgrounds in the game between Northern Ireland v Mexico, the Organising Committee of the Dale Farm Milk Cup have suspended Mexico players Carlos Alberto Arreola, Raul Manolo Gudino, and Kevin Rusel Gutierrez and Northern Ireland’s Robbie McDaid from taking any further part in the Tournament,” said via a press release from tournament officials.
“The Mexican FA and Irish Football Association will be informed of the behaviour of their Under 20 teams in what turned out to be a poor advertisement for soccer. We would ask all teams to remember that they should be ambassadors for the game, their club and their country and appeal that they examine their behaviour and strive towards fulfilling the good intentions laid down in FIFA Fair Play.”
Watch the short 43-second clip of the Northern Ireland vs. Mexico brawl:
Curiously, this is not the first skirmish between the Irish and Mexican youth. Just last year, in the same tournament the players also got into some heated exchanges (go straight to the 3:40 mark):
(YouTube/NI Milk Cup)
Northern Ireland and Mexico youth teams will most likely participate again in the Milk Cup next year and hopefully, both squads’ players will be level-headed in 2015.