The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008 has proved to be a wonderful opportunity to see the future stars of the global game in action. The spread of gold, silver and bronze medals awarded has largely reflected the outstanding performers from this competition, players have received well-deserved additional credit in the form of the tournament's individual prizes.
FIFA.com brings you news of those gifted youngsters who are sure to cause a stir on the world scene in years to come.
Adidas Golden Ball, Silver Ball and Bronze Ball
Adidas Golden Ball: Sydney Leroux (USA), (25 per cent of the votes)
Adidas Silver Ball: Alex Morgan (USA), (23 per cent of the votes)
Adidas Bronze Ball: Eugenie Le Sommer (FRA), (19 per cent of the votes)
Sydney Leroux: Leroux started the competition warming the bench but has finished Chile 2008 with two top individual awards as well as a winners' medal around her neck. The striker fired five goals during the course of the competition as well as forcing Bianca Schmidt's decisive own goal in the semi-finals. Her contribution to the United States' cause was always decisive, not just through the goals she scored herself, but also via her never-ending commitment and fighting spirit when leading the line. She also created two goals for her team-mates, and never hesitated to drop into midfield when necessary.
Alex Morgan: The American striker's good looks and eye for goal quickly marked her out as a favourite of the Chilean fans and media alike. The fleet-footed Californian posed a threat across the front line, and was able to cause havoc with penetrating runs down either flank. Scorer of four goals overall, the UC Berkeley sharpshooter impressed onlookers with her elegant and dynamic displays, combined with a nose for a goalscoring opportunity. "We always try and bring the best each of us has to offer to the team. So my goal in the final is merely the fruit of excellent teamwork. I'm very happy," said Morgan after the final whistle.
Eugenie Le Sommer: Les Bleuettes' No10 was the driving force behind the French campaign, whether it be in an emergency forward role or playing in a more withdrawn position. Over and above her four-goal tally, Le Sommer's movement, eye for a pass and crisp shooting ability mark her out as a player to watch. "I'm pleased to have scored four goals but I couldn't have done it without my team-mates' help. It's an honour that people notice my contribution to the team but I would have liked to do better - it's a bit disappointing to have lost the match for third place," said Le Sommer. "I hope to keep moving forward and improve in the future."
Ri Ye Gyong: She scored her team's first goal at Chile 2008 and ended up providing the assist for beaten finalists Korea DPR's consolation effort in the decider against the United States. The gifted wide midfielder with an eye for goal also found the net against Mexico, Norway and France, and used her ability to spread the play to good effect. The Amrokgang starlet proved an incisive and dangerous performer at Chile 2008, as well as setting up two goals for her team-mates. "I'm pleased with the [individual] award but I regret that I was unable to win the tournament to go with it," she said after the final whistle in Santiago.
Adidas Golden Glove
The displays of United States' keeper Alyssa Naeher steadfastly underlined her claim as the tournament's finest custodian. In her five matches played, Naeher only conceded once, and that came in the dying moments of the final. The agile shot-stopper has the instinct and reflexes required of a quality goalkeeper as well as the strength of character to keep her defence on their toes and the authority to deal with aerial balls. "This prize was earned by our entire defensive line, and was the fruit of a great team effort," said Naeher.
FIFA Fair Play award
Not only did the United States win the competition, their elegance and good nature on the field were also recognised with the award of the FIFA Fair Play prize. Courteous with each and every opponent and nothing but friendly with every fan who approached them, the Americans will also take the Fair Play trophy home with them.
As part of their campaign to promote Fair Play, FIFA awards this prize based on an evaluation by members of the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG), which considers the players' behaviour on and off the pitch. The overall aim is to increase the level of good sportsmanship displayed by players, coaching staff and spectators over the course of each competition. Each and every player will be handed their own medal and diploma, while both federations will receive a cash prize to spend on adidas products that will help the youth development of the federation in question.