THE DAY REPLAYED - The 52nd and last match at the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 was always destined to provide an entry in the annals of history. Argentina would either pull clear of the rest with a fifth FIFA World Youth Championship triumph, or Nigeria would become the first African nation to hoist the trophy.
The match itself was a highly tactical battle from the off as the sides showed each other a healthy dose of respect. Driven on by their boisterous fans and midfield ace John Obi Mikel, the Nigerians saw the lion's share of possession at the start, but 20 minutes had passed before the crowd were brought to their feet as Dele Adeleye latched onto a mis-hit clearance only for the volley to fly wide.
The effort was the spark the game needed as Olubayo Adefemi tried his luck only to err from the target. Argentina emerged from their shell midway through the half and Nigeria keeper Ambruse Vanzekin was forced into action for the first time by Gustavo Oberman. Opposite number Oscar Ustari performed heroics to deny John Owoeri, but although they pushed forward less frequently, the Argentines looked the more dangerous in front of goal.
A sense of the inevitable surrounded Lionel Messi's typically jinking run into the area on 40 minutes. The striker drew a foul and dusted himself down to convert the subsequent spot-kick. A goalless draw on opening day against Brazil aside, it was the first time the West Africans had failed to take the lead at the tournament.
Ogbuke lifts underdogs' spirits
The Nigerians were level just eight minutes after the restart as Chinedu Ogbuke threw himself at Adefemi's inviting cross to head in for Nigeria. Roared on by the crowd, now converted to the underdogs' cause, the West Africans were in the driving seat for a spell and David Abwo came within a whisker of handing his side the lead on the hour. However, the Argentine rearguard weathered the storm and the South Americans poached what turned out to be the winning goal. Messi burst into the box in one of his side's rare excursions upfield, falling under a challenge to earn a second penalty. The Barcelona starlet coolly converted again, earning himself the adidas Golden Shoe as top scorer on six goals.
Sergio Aguero might have wrapped up the victory but squandered a late opportunity, although the miss proved academic as Argentina completed a third South American victory over African opponents in three FIFA World Youth Championship Final meetings. The devastated Nigerians fell at the final hurdle for the second time after defeat in 1989.
Brazil claim third with last-gasp brace
Brazil sealed third place at the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 as coach René Weber's men overcame ten-man Morocco courtesy of a late double strike at the Galgenwaard stadium in Utrecht. The first-ever meeting between the sides at a FIFA youth tournament was a low-key affair with chances few and far between, despite the losing semi-finalists' valiant attempts to rouse themselves one last time.
Morocco's Tarik Bendamou came closest to breaking the deadlock with a 16 metre drive on 25 minutes, before Brazil finally threatened towards the end of the first period. Renato twice tested keeper Mohammed Bourkadi but the shot-stopper was equal to the task. The Africans eased ahead when Edcarlos unluckily deflected Adil Hermach's speculative effort into his own net.
The South Americans seized the initiative after the restart but had only Edcarlos' header and a shot against the upright to show for their endeavours. El Zhar declined to settle the issue in favour of the North Africans from six metres, and Morocco were made to pay when Fabio Santos capitalised on Bourkadi's error to level two minutes from time. With the Moroccans now reduced to ten men, Edcarlos compounded the misery with a fortunate headed winner a minute into stoppage time.
To round off a dramatic final matchday, Messi accepted the adidas Golden Shoe as leading scorer. After this, Messi, Mikel and Taiwo were presented with the adidas Golden Ball, adidas Silver Ball and adidas Bronze Ball respectively, awarded to the three best players at the event. In a repeat of the 2003 tournament in the UAE, Colombia won the Fair Play trophy. A rain of blue ticker-tape cascaded over the delirious Argentine side as they basked in the strains of Queen's "We are the Champions".