Chile 1987: Yugoslavian fireworks

Champions:
The 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile was graced by a terrific Yugoslavia team. Mirko Josic's superb side deservedly lifted the trophy after regaling the crowds throughout the competition with a fanciful and effective display of footballing genius. In the first round alone they found the net 12 times in three games, and when the going got tough - a goal down against holders Brazil in the quarter-final - they raised their game to triumph 2-1. Again in the Final they showed their pluck to win a penalty shoot-out against the West Germans. Many members of this magnificent team went on to become household names: Robert Prosinecki - Zvonimir Boban - Davor Suker - Predrag Mijatovic. At the back too, players like Igor Stimac, Robert Jarni and Branko Brnovic were irreproachable, as technically gifted as they were composed.

Surprises:
Chile '87 was very much a European affair: six sides from the continent made the quarter-finals and three the semis (East Germany, West Germany and Yugoslavia). South American hegemony was undermined at last after providing three of the last four winners (Argentina in 1979, Brazil in 1983 and 1985).

Still it was host nation Chile that created the biggest stir, reaching the semi-finals just as their elders had managed back in 1962. Drawn in the same group as the untouchable Yugoslavs, they qualified second to beat the Italians at their own game in the quarters, scoring the only goal of the game in the dying minutes. But that was to be that: despite vociferous support from a 36,000 crowd in Concepcion, Luis Ibarra's youngsters fell 4-0 to the consummately solid German side in the semis.

Player of the Tournament:
A shining star in a glittering galaxy! Robert Prosinecki was chosen as player of the tournament from a plethora of tremendous Yugoslavian players. Among his many talents, it was his brilliant vision that won him most plaudits - almost a second sight, delivering chances on a plate to front men Mijatovic and Suker. The Croat's lethal final pass made his side by far the most dangerous in the competition. After three national titles and a European Cup winner's medal with Red Star Belgrade, Prosinecki packed his bags for Spain (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Oviedo, Sevilla), but injury troubles deprived him of further glory. Nonetheless in 2001 it was yet another deadly Prosinecki pass that led to Croatian qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan.

Rising Stars:
Barreto Faria Bismarck (BRA), Cesar Sampaio (BRA), Emil Kostadinov (BUL), Oscar Cordoba (COL), Andreas Möller (GER), Marcel Witeczek (GER), Matthias Sammer (GDR), Jeff Agoos (USA), Kasey Keller (USA), Tony Meola (USA), Zvonimir Boban (YUG), Branko Brnovic (YUG), Robert Jarni (YUG), Predrag Mijatovic (YUG), Robert Prosinecki (YUG), Igor Stimac (YUG), Davor Suker (YUG), ...

Chile 1987 stats:

Final standings:

  1. Yugoslavia
  2. Germany
  3. Germany DR
  4. Chile

Goals scored:
86 (av.: 2.69)

Best attack:
Yugoslavia, 17 goals

Top goalscorers:

  1. Marcel Witeczek (GER), 7 goals
  2. Davor Suker (YUG), 6 goals
  3. Camilo Pino (CHI), 5 goals

Host cities:
Antofagasta, Concepcion, Santiago, Valparaiso

Spectators:
712,000 (Final: 65,000)

Average attendance:
22,250

Interesting stat:
Yugoslavia set a new FIFA World Youth Championship scoring record (which still stands today): they banged in an average of 2.44 goals per game, finishing with 22 goals for and 9 against.