Argentines on top of the world
© Foto-net

THE DAY REPLAYED - Thanks to the dazzling flair of Sergio Aguero, Maxi Moralez and Co, Argentina secured a record sixth world U-20 title in dazzling style, while in the match for third place Chile got back to winning ways to take bronze. But the real heroes on the last day of action in Toronto were the goalkeepers, whose exploits between the sticks prevented a flood of goals.

If the match for third looked on paper to be a restaging of Austria and Chile's Group A encounter from 8 July, it soon became clear that a different dynamic was at play. Under a dazzling sky, the South Americans settled into their rhythm much quicker than their opponents and the talented duo of Arturo Vidal and Mathias Vidangossy began giving an exhibition of their superior technical skills. A little more thought for their team-mates might have yielded more in terms of goals, but it would be harsh to be overly critical of youthful errors that will surely pass with time.

After coming unstuck in the semi-finals, Austria coach Paul Gludovatz reverted back to his supersub approach by sending Erwin 'Jimmy' Hoffer into the fray from the bench. Unfortunately for the Europeans, Hoffer looked visibly exhausted and his team were never able to pull level after Hans Martinez broke the deadlock. Their failure was not for want of trying, though, as Chilean custodian Cristopher Toselli was in spectacular form and kept out everything on what will surely go down as 'the day of the goalkeepers'.

In amongst a wide array of fantastic saves, the 20,000 fans are unlikely to forget a stunning stop reminiscent of a volleyball smash, which foiled an effort everyone presumed was destined for the back of the net. The Universidad Catolica shot-stopper proved there and then that the new invincibility record of 492 minutes he set during this tournament was no fluke. And if he continues in the same vein, he can start to dream of a career every bit as prestigious as that of the man whose record he toppled, Claudio Taffarel.

The good news to emerge from the game was that both teams have now gone down in history, with Chile finishing on a FIFA U-20 World Cup podium for the first time and Austria venturing further than ever in a FIFA tournament. There was also much to appreciate about the Chile fans' warm reception for both the Austrian side and their own Rojita heroes, following ugly scenes after the South Americans' semi-final. The rousing cries of "Chi-Chi-Chi, Le-Le-Le, Viva Chile!" will long echo around Toronto's National Soccer Stadium.

Safe hands
What stood the Czech fans at the Final apart, meanwhile, were shirts sporting names such as Jaromir Jagr and Dominik Hasek, ice hockey stars on a continent where Czech athletes are more likely to be seen holding a stick and chasing a puck. As it happened, the early stages of the showpiece event had a little too much in common with Canada's national game, with tackles flying in from every angle and the referee reaching into his pocket on several occasions. Luckily, the goalkeepers were determined the match would be remembered for all the right reasons, and both Radek Petr and Sergio Romero gave textbook performances peppered with exquisite reflexes, impressive leaps and confident running off their lines.

Unsurprisingly then, the first two goals came about through a flash of inspiration, as Martin Fenin swivelled and unleashed an unstoppable effort, and a defensive error, with the dangerous Sergio Aguero left unmarked. Mauro Zarate's winning strike for Argentina perhaps owed more than a little to Radek failing to cover his near post, but it would be churlish to blame the Europeans' last line of defence, who emerged as a worthy successor to Petr Cech. He, Romero and Toselli look to have brilliant futures ahead of them.

Ultimately, of course, the day was all about Argentina and their growing list of honours. They became the first side to lift the FIFA U-20 World Cup six times and this was their 17 th final in FIFA competition overall, of which they have now won ten. Likewise, Sergio Aguero can celebrate becoming merely the second player after Joao Pinto in 1989 and 1991 to taste glory in two successive FIFA U-20 World Cups. He also takes home the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe for his six goals, finishing just ahead of team-mate Maximiliano Moralez in both categories. Indeed, such was the Albicelestes' dominance on all fronts that their rivals were left competing for scraps .