Brazil went in search of their third successive FIFA U-17 World Championship title in Peru in September and they managed to reach the final at the end of the month by beating Turkey 4-3 in an incredible semi-final in Trujillo. Their progress to the final against Mexico was not without problems though as Gambia beat them in the group stages in Piura.
Mexico swept to the decisive showdown by defeating the Netherlands 4-0 in Chiclayo as matches throughout Peru proved a big hit with enthusiastic local crowds. Passionate support in the Amazonian Rainforest city of Iquitos was not enough to keep hosts Peru in beyond the group stage, however. Ryan Soroka's strike in the USA's 3-1 victory over Italy was the 1000th goal in the history of the finals, with Peru 2005 being the first tournament to be played solely on artificial turf and also using experimental goal-line technology.
The race for a place at the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005 captured the attention in Africa, with Tunisia's Etoile Sahel being paired with Moroccan side Raja Casablanca and Al Ahly meeting Cairo rivals Zamalek in an all-Egyptian CAF Champions League semi-final. The finalists would be known in October. In Asia, Al Ain, Shenzhen, Busan and Al Ittihad emerged as the semi-finalists of the AFC Champions League after an impressive 22 goals were scored in the four quarter-final second leg matches.
The 55th Ordinary FIFA Congress convened in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh and a number of momentous decisions were reached at the first such gathering to be held on the African continent. Plans to set up a FIFA Task Force "For the Good of the Game" to tackle the problematic issues being faced in football were officially endorsed following a proposal by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. In Timor-Leste and Comoros, the Congress approved the admission of the 206th and 207th members of the international football family. Of the 205 associations already affiliated to the world governing body, 203 were present at the Congress.
In matters of finance, FIFA was successful in securing a new partnership deal with Emirates Airlines and the FIFA Tsunami Task Force approved 15 new projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand for a total amount of USD 3.64 million.
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking
Brazil remained the clear leaders, but the Netherlands moved up one place to second, their highest position for more than a decade. Zinedine Zidane's comeback propelled France (6th, up 3) up the ranking, while Sweden (10th, up 5) returned to the top ten after an absence of nine years. Outside the top 50, a number of teams jumped 10 places or more, including Togo (54th, up 12), Venezuela (57th, up 10), Bosnia-Herzegovina (67th, up 11) and Scotland (74th, up 12).
2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™
Qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ saw a frenzy of activity as a number of teams booked, or very nearly booked, their places at the finals. Brazil made certain they will be in Germany to defend their title courtesy of a 5-0 victory over Chile. Mexico beat Panama to join fellow CONCACAF representatives USA at the finals after losing 2-0 to the Americans in an earlier match. In Europe, the situation was much less clear cut, despite Ukraine securing their passage to the finals. England suffered an embarrassing 1-0 reverse against Northern Ireland, but they still held qualification in their own hands. Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, France and Serbia and Montenegro were among those looking good to reach Germany 2006 following encouraging results. In Africa, Ghana almost guaranteed their place after a 2-0 victory over Uganda, with Angola and Tunisia also putting themselves in pole position to qualify.
6 Sept - Consultative body meets at FIFA headquarters in Zurich to address and identify sports political issues
6 Sept - The 2006 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee Bureau orders a replay of the play-off between Uzbekistan and Bahrain after a technical error by the referee
11-12 Sept - 55th Ordinary FIFA Congress, Marrakesh.
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|FIFA U-17 World Championship first round review|
|Stars of the future shine in Peru|
|Key decisions at 55th Ordinary FIFA Congress|