Magical Mexico make history as Dutch celebrate third
Triumphant Mexico sealed the first FIFA World Championship title in their long footballing history, defeating highly-fancied Brazil by a clear-cut 3-0 scoreline in the FIFA U-17 World Championship Final on Sunday. For the South Americans, the result represented a first final defeat since a 3-2 reverse against Ghana at the 1995 tournament in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
A crowd of 40,000 flocked to the National Stadium in Lima for the 32nd and last match of the FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005, and none was to regret his or her decision as Mexico and Brazil served up a footballing treat.
The second meeting between the teams at a FIFA U-17 World Championship opened at a brisk pace. Brazil were rated favourites by most experts beforehand, but Mexico seized the initiative and moved in front after 31 minutes, as striker Carlos Vela made good a pre-match promise. "I'll score today, because it's my dad's birthday," he had declared, duly heading across Brazil keeper Felipe to open the scoring and fulfil his prediction into the bargain. The Brazilians were badly hampered by the early loss of Anderson, voted Player of the Tournament by journalists, as the Gremio striker was forced off the field with injury on the quarter hour. For their part, the Mexicans needed less than two minutes to double their advantage, Omar Esparza netting brilliantly to hand his side a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break.
Mexico continued to pose the greater threat after the restart as the Brazilians, short of inspiration and spark on the day, struggled to unpick their opponents' solid rearguard. Late Mexican substitute Pedro Valverde could and perhaps should have netted the third with a header 10 minutes from time, before fellow replacement Ever Guzman showed how it should be done, rounding Felipe to deliver the final knockout blow. The Mexicans' jubilation knew no bounds as they saluted their knot of travelling fans in celebration of a historic triumph.
Dutch down weary Turks
Almost as if to bid a cheery farewell to the FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005, the sun chose to shine down on the National Stadium in Lima for the first time this week ready for the start of the third place play-off, a re-run of the European Championship final between the Netherlands and Turkey. The golden rays appeared to lift the lads in orange as they dominated the opening exchanges in a carbon copy of the European Championship final. Dutch boss Ruud Kaiser had motivated his squad by showing them highlights of the previous encounter, and the measure worked to good effect as John Goossens fired his side into a 13th minute lead after Jeffrey Sarpong supplied an inch-perfect through ball from the centre circle.
Turkish legs looked leaden after the energy-sapping deeds of their epic semi-final against Brazil. Coach Abdullah Avci's team gave it everything they had, but their reserves of focus and resolve were running low. The European champions needed a full 26 minutes before creating a chance worthy of note, as the absence of a clutch of key players made itself felt. Bayer Leverkusen striker Tevfik Köse failed to net one of their handful of chances when he shot the wrong side of the upright from an unmarked position on the stroke of half time.
Stalemate settled over the game in the second period before a furious finale. Goosens doubled his personal tally on 88 minutes before Nuri Sahin briefly reawakened his side's hopes with a deflected shot, but the effort was ultimately no more than a consolation for the luckless Turks. The Netherlands thus gained revenge for the 2-0 defeat in the European Championship final, although both teams can be more than satisfied overall after making an indelible mark on the tournament in Peru.
At the end of a thrilling final day, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter handed Mexico's Carlos Vela the adidas Golden Shoe as top scorer of the tournament. Brazil's Anderson, sadly supported by crutches, collected the adidas Golden Ball for the Player of the Tournament. Giovanni Dos Santos and Nuri Sahin were awarded the adidas Silver Ball and the adidas Bronze Ball as second and third best players, while Korea DPR took the fair-play trophy.