The arrival of the new millennium proved to be a turning point for Club de Futbol Pachuca, who emerged from Mexico’s second tier to become one of the most successful clubs in the country and the CONCACAF region. Such has been their transformation, in fact, that they are making their fourth FIFA Club World Cup appearance this year.
Los Tuzos have yet to make much of an impression on the competition, however. On making their debut in 2007, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Etoile Sportive du Sahel. The following year they achieved their one and only win in normal time in the competition to date, beating Al Ahly before losing to Liga Universitaria de Quito and Gamba Osaka and eventually finishing fourth. On their last appearance, in 2010, the Mexicans lost their opening match to TP Mazembe but defeated Al Wahda on penalties to finish fifth.
Uruguayan coach Diego Alonso has put together a very solid side, one that impressed at both ends of the pitch in the CONCACAF Champions League. Miserly in defence and lethal up front, Pachuca owe much of their strength to Jonathan Urretaviscaya and Franco Jara, who was named the tournament's best player. Playing with the same style both home and away, the Mexicans scored 16 of their 29 goals on the road.
“When you play in the Club World Cup you know that you’ve made it to the international elite,” said Alonso after seeing his side lift the trophy. “I was obsessed about us getting there, and it was an objective of ours. We want to go there and truly compete.” Pachuca’s goal now will be to become the first Mexican side to reach the final of the competition.
Facts and figures
Alberto Rodriguez, Hernan Medford, Pablo Hernan Gomez, Sergio Santana, Miguel Calero, Manuel Vidrio, Gabriel Caballero, Juan Carlos Cacho, Christian Gimenez, Damian Alvarez.
Alfonso Blanco, Oscar Murillo, Erick Gutierrez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Franco Jara.
Pachuca won the 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate defeat of Tigres in the final.
Los Tuzos collected ten points out of a possible 12 in winning their group, scoring 19 goals in the process, more than any other side in the first round. After beating Deportivo Saprissa in the quarter-finals they knocked out FC Dallas in the semis, despite losing the first leg, their only defeat of the competition. In total, the Mexicans scored 29 goals and conceded eight.
The numbers game
14 - the number of goals Hirving Lozano (now playing for PSV Eindhoven) and Franco Jara scored between them for Pachuca, 48 per cent of the team’s total. Lozano top-scored in the competition with eight, while Jara was second on the list with six.