An Oscar hat-trick inspired Brazil to 3-2 comeback victory over Portugal in thrilling conclusion to the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The Iberians were just 12 minutes away from the title when the Internacional player's goal ensured the game went into extra time, and he then completed his treble to seal the deal.
The game got off to an electric start, with Brazil's Philippe Coutinho and Sana of Portugal showcasing some breathtaking footwork before the deadlock was briskly broken. Indeed, just four minutes were on the clock when Oscar's curling effort took a nick off Sergio Oliveira and went into the bottom corner of Mika's goal. It brought to an end, at 574 minutes, the Portugal goalkeeper's record sequence without conceding in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The pre-match consensus suggested that if Brazil went ahead, Portugal would be dead and buried. That theory was dead and buried just four minutes later, though. Nelson Oliveira broke down the right and crossed for Alex to head home the equaliser.
The South Americans had more of the ball and gave their opponents a few nervy moments thereafter. Danilo's low, rasping shot had Mika struggling, but the latter grabbed the ball at the second attempt, just before Willian arrived, while Oscar's goal-bound free-kick was headed over by Nuno Reis and Fernando's 30-yard strike went just over the crossbar. Ultimately, though, the teams went in at the break all square.
Brazil started the second half with Allan and Negueba on in place of Gabriel Silva and Willian, and they quickly found their rhythm. Danilo delightfully deceived one adversary on the right flank before galloping into the box, but Portugal were able to clear their lines. The Iberians then threatened through Sergio Oliveria, but Gabriel's handling proved up to the No17's fierce shot.
However, the Brazil No1 let himself down minutes later. Nelson Oliveira's shot from an extremely tight angle down the right slipped under the Cruzeiro player's body and put Portugal 2-1 up.
Nelson Oliveira proved himself to be far more than a goalscorer over the next ten minutes, relieving the pressure on his side, who were being dominated territorially, by chasing and winning lost causes. He almost put the result beyond doubt on 73 minutes, too, cutting inside Bruno Uvini but having his shot blocked by Gabriel.
Just as it looked as though Brazil were running out of ideas, though, they levelled the score. Dudu, Ney Franco's perennial super sub, dashed down the left and delivered a cross which Oscar turned home from close range.
It was all Brazil thereafter. Dudu produced one brilliant cross which Pele did well to blast away, while Oscar's crowd-pleasing back-heel set up Fernando, whose powerful strike went straight at Mika. It was on to extra time.
On 97 minutes Portugal had a gilt-edged chance to go in front. Caetano sprinted clear of the Brazil defence and faced Gabriel one-on-one. The diminutive substitute tried to chip the keeper, but the latter jumped smartly to deny him.
Brazil got the contest's fifth goal on 111 minutes. Oscar picked the ball up on the right, and his centre into the box lobbed Mika and nestled in the back of his net.
Brazil had won their fifth FIFA U-20 World Cup and South America had seized eight of the last ten trophies.