The inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup will be remembered for many things: big crowds, spectacular goals and a level of play that far exceeded expectations. It will also be remembered as the tournament of the No10, all the more so after the major end-of-tournament awards were dominated by Japan's Mana Iwabuchi and Dzsenifer Marozsan of Germany.
adidas Golden, Silver and Bronze Balls
adidas Golden Ball : Mana Iwabuchi (JPN)
adidas Silver Ball : Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER)
adidas Bronze Ball : Kristie Mewis (USA)
New Zealand's love affair with Mana Iwabuchi was frustratingly fleeting, with the Japan No10's brilliance on show over just three thrilling matches. However, what the 15-year-old was unable to provide in quantity, she more than made up for in quality, leaving Kiwi crowds with unforgettable memories of a dazzling natural talent.
Hailed as a "future star of women's football" by Gerard Sergent after orchestrating Japan's 3-2 win over the eventual runners-up, Iwabuchi went on to justify the France coach's claim by ripping his side to shreds in a sensational 7-1 win. Rested for the Young Nadesiko's final group game, she returned for the quarter-final against England only to depart the stadium in floods of tears after a cruel and undeserved defeat on penalties.
The tournament was undoubtedly poorer for Iwabuchi's premature exit, but when the time came to vote for the player of the tournament, the Kiwi media provided the ultimate token of their enduring esteem and affection. Their choice was backed by the head of FIFA's Technical Study Group, Sylvie Beliveau. " She is an exceptional player," enthused Beliveau. "Her ability on and off the ball, her reading of the game and her movement and anticipation set her above the other players here. "
Dzsenifer Marozsan might have been pipped to the adidas Golden Ball, but the classy Germany No10 did claim gold in one category by topping the tournament's scoring charts. Although she failed to score in either the semi-final or final, Marozsan had, by this stage, accumulated a handsome haul of six goals that ultimately proved sufficient to keep her ahead of worthy adversaries such as Vicki DiMartino and Jon Myong Hwa.
adidas Golden Glove
USA's Taylor Vancil was identified as the best of a generally impressive bunch of goalkeepers at New Zealand 2008, the American beating the likes of England's Lauren Davey and Korea DPR's Hong Myong Hui to this TSG-selected award.
FIFA Fair Play award
This was not the prize they came for, but Germany were worthy winners nonetheless, picking up just one yellow card and epitomising the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship that imbued the entire tournament.