Thailand 2004 awards: Marta reigns supreme, Timko takes top scorer
After Germany's categorical triumph in the Final of the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship, the only thing left to be decided was the choice of the most outstanding players from Thailand 2004.
On this occasion, there was little doubt as to who deserved the Adidas Golden Ball for the player of the tournament. Brazil's Marta had, after all, blazed a trail through the championship from start to finish. The race was closer for the Adidas Golden Shoe award for tournament top scorer. Anja Mittag fought all the way in the Final to help her side to the World Championship title whilst searching for the goals that would enable her to top the leading goal scorers' charts. She managed the former, but the latter goal eluded her and the coveted award went instead to Canada's Brittany Timko. Curiously enough, both the golden awards this year went to players who finished outside the medals.
Golden, Silver and Bronze Ball for the outstanding players of the tournament
adidas Golden Ball- Marta (BRA)
For the extraordinary Marta, Thailand 2004 was a bittersweet experience. The player of the tournament award brought a broad smile to her face, but it could not entirely mask the disappointment of having lost her last two games to finish fourth. The prodigious midfielder wooed fans the length and breadth of Thailand with her fantastic dribbling and passion for the game. A tenacious tackler who never, ever gives up, Marta is prepared to go it alone if necessary, as she showed against Russia in the quarter-finals. Blessed with character, vision, superb ball control and a stinging shot, the 18-year-old genuinely has it all. She announced her arrival at Canada 2002, where her potential was more than evident. Now after two years of hard work, Marta is getting the rewards she deserves - even if it is the individual gold here, and not the team one as she would have wished.
adidas Silver Ball - Angie Woznuk (USA)
In Angie Woznuk, the United States have one of the finest playmakers in the women's game. Also prepared to get through the hard and thankless work in midfield, Woznuk holds the side together, orchestrating the play and dictating the pace of the American game. When Woznuk is on form in the middle of the park, the threat posed by her team-mates increases dramatically. Her baby face belies her steely resolve and a great footballing brain, and it is lost on no-one that most of her side's best attacking moves start at her feet.
adidas Bronze Ball - Anja Mittag (GER)
One of the deadliest and most in-form strikers in the game today, Anja Mittag possesses nerves of steel and a fighting spirit that inspires all around her. Her powerful physique and ruthless finishing have been known to intimidate the toughest defenders and give many an opposition coach sleepless nights. With her forceful character and no-holds-barred approach, the FFC Potsdam player is a charismatic leader both on and off the pitch. A tireless runner who fights for everything, she looks set to fulfil Silvia Neid's prediction and become one of the stars of the German senior team.
Golden, Silver and Bronze Shoe for the leading goal scorers in the tournament
adidas Golden Shoe - Brittany Timko (CAN)
The midfielder-turned-striker was not on hand personally to pick up her top scorer award as her Canadian side had already returned home after crashing out in the quarter-finals. But even after giving her immediate pursuers two more games to catch her, the young Canuck did enough in her four games to take top prize. In spite of scoring a brace against Australia and a hat-trick against Thailand, the modest Canadian insisted she was only putting the finishing touches to fine moves orchestrated by her team-mates. The truth is that it takes a real goal scorer's instinct to always be in the right place at the right time. Timko also scored against Germany and China PR - the team that ended the North Americans' dreams - but by then she had already bagged the seven goals that would give her the award.
adidas Silver Shoe - Anja Mittag (GER)
Though unable to find the net in the latter stages of the tournament, Mittag more than made up for the disappointment at not taking the Golden Shoe by being crowned world champion alongside her German colleagues. The striker came out with all guns blazing in the group stage, scoring one against Thailand and two apiece against Australia and Canada. Then came her most important strike of all, an equalizer against Nigeria in the quarter-final when the European side were just minutes from elimination. That was surely the goal that marked her out as one of the most promising strikers on planet football. Despite her impressive tally, Mittag is an unselfish player and not one to go for goal when she spots a better placed team-mate. A case in point was in the final against China PR, when her assist allowed Melanie Behringer to score Germany's insurance goal.
adidas Bronze Shoe - Angie Woznuk (USA)
While her role in midfield as chief playmaker does not afford her too many sights of goal, Woznuk is not averse to testing the goalkeeper when the opportunity arises. To add to her Silver Ball, the North American picked up third place in the scoring awards thanks to her three strikes. Two penalties, one against Korea Republic and another against Russia, in the Group C games opened the way. Her pièce de résistance, however, was in the bronze medal match against Brazil, when from 40 yards out she hit a peach of a shot that beat the keeper all ends up. The goal allowed her to draw level with Marta, who also scored three, with the award going to the USA player based on minutes played.
FIFA Fair Play Award - USA
Although they could not manage to retain the title they won at the inaugural championship in 2002, the USA side will not be leaving Thailand empty handed. As well as winning the bronze medal, Mark Krikorian's side have also picked up the FIFA Fair Play Award. With just two yellow cards and no reds in their six games, the team's 776 points put them comfortably ahead of the second placed side Germany on 757.