Basel have won the 71st Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup. A 6,000 crowd watched the renowned Swiss club edge a thrilling final against Grasshopper Club Zurich by the only goal of the game.
The ten teams at the two-day tournament provided rich entertainment for the good crowds at the Buchlern sports facility. Last year’s winners FC Zurich completed a Swiss clean sweep with victory in the third-place play-off against Brazilian starlets Flamengo.
The Basel youngsters made sure last year’s defeat in the final was consigned to history courtesy of a goal from Xherdan Shaqiri shortly after half-time. Basel claimed the trophy for the second time following a previous success in 1997.
Players from Swiss clubs also dominated the individual awards. The Player of the Tournament accolade went to four-goal Basel sharpshooter Pascal Schuerpf, while the Best Goalkeeper was Grasshopper Club’s Steven Deana.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter attended both days of the tournament. Speaking after the final, he was full of praise for all the talented youngsters who took part.
"All the teams are extremely advanced tactically, so picking out stars or outstanding individuals is far from easy. I was here in 1955, the same tournament as Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest personalities in world football. We didn’t have the superb infrastructure back then, but we were still desperately keen to be part of it.
Potential stars are born here. Players are delighted to take part in this tournament. It’s a showcase for their talent, which is extraordinary in some cases.
"Potential stars are born here. Players are delighted to take part in this tournament. It’s a showcase for their talent, which is extraordinary in some cases. There are lots of scouts here, but also a number of personalities from the world of football, who keep coming back to support and watch the youngsters," a visibly satisfied Blatter commented.
Participating clubs in 2009
FC Blue Stars
Beijing Guo An