As at every FIFA tournament, awards were presented at the end of the FIFA World Youth Championship UAE 2003. The adidas Golden Ball, rewarding the best player of the event, was awarded by journalists to the UAE’s Ismail Matar, ahead of Brazilian pair Dudu and Daniel. The adidas Golden Shoe, which recognises the best goalscorer, was hotly contested with four players scoring four goals, but in the end it was Ed Johnson of the USA who got the nod ahead of Japan’s Daisuke Sakata and Brazil’s Dudu thanks to an assist.

Golden, Silver and Bronze Balls

adidas Golden Ball - Ismail Matar (UAE):
A new phenomenon at this level, Ismail Matar of the United Arab Emirates wowed all observers to clinch the much coveted adidas Golden Ball. Football fans in the UAE have every reason to be proud of their young playmaker. Right from the first match, when his team was struggling, he led by example, delivering a superb lofted pass to his partner Ali Al Wehaibi to fire UAE’s only goal. After a first round packed with mesmerising dribbles and breathtaking bursts of acceleration, Matar reached the peak of his powers at the last sixteen stage against Australia. Single-handedly hauling his team through to the quarter-finals when his slightly deflected shot deceived the Australian keeper, he sparked scenes of mass celebration amongst the hordes of Emirates supporters. The future seems paved with gold for the man from the Al Wahda club and cornerstone of the national team, as he is being strongly tipped for a big money move to Europe on the back of his brilliant performances.

adidas Silver Ball - Dudu (BRA):
Being a ball-winning midfielder in Brazil is hardly the most glamorous of roles, but it is precisely the task that Dudu has filled with great aplomb throughout the tournament. A tireless worker, he filled the gaps on countless occasions, no mean feat in such an attack-minded team. Better still, he found time to net four goals, the first and “least important” of which was the finest specimen, killing the ball with his chest before lashing home a sweetly struck volley against the Australians in the last group match. His subsequent three strikes on target bore all the hallmarks of decisive goals. Two came against the Slovaks in the last sixteen following fine team moves, the second nothing less than a golden goal. His final goal arrived against the Argentines, when he rose to flick a corner past the stranded keeper. One volley, two well-placed shots and a header… Dudu is every inch the complete player.

Adidas Bronze Ball - Daniel (BRA):
A quintessentially Brazilian right wing back, Daniel oozed class all the way through the tournament. He sparked countless Seleçao attacks from his berth out wide courtesy of his pace and dribbling skills, most recently in the Final where his incessant forward forays gradually wore down the Spanish rearguard. The FC Sevilla player also shouldered the responsibility of taking many of their free kicks and corners, while still finding time to perform his primary defensive duties with great effectiveness, evoking comparisons with the likes of Cafu and Roberto Carlos.

The Golden, Silver and Bronze Shoes

adidas Golden Shoe, Ed Johnson (USA), 4 goals, 1 assist:
Now here is a young man with so much talent, it almost seems wasted on a striker. With his vitality, impeccable technique and awesome physique, the Dallas Burn hotshot demonstrated in the UAE that he will be a name to be reckoned with in the future. A veteran of the U.S. U-17 side that disappointed at Trinidad & Tobago 2001, Johnson arrived at the next level intent on earning some respect. And so he did - almost from the opening whistle - with a goal and an assist in the States’ opening-day win over Paraguay. Three more goals, all from the penalty spot, proved him to be a cool customer too as the States sent yet another message to the watching football world with a dramatic run to the quarter-finals.

adidas Silver Shoe, Daisuke Sakata, 4 goals:
The Japanese front man also notched four goals in the course of the competition, somewhat upstaging his more fancied co-striker Yutaro Abe. In doing so, Sakata allied some clinical finishing with flawless technique. He first set the scoreboard flashing with a superb diving header that secured all three points against England, while his second strike was a fiercely struck free kick to salvage some pride against Colombia. Finally, and no doubt most importantly for his countrymen, he bagged a brace against Korea Republic at the last sixteen stage, revealing that his repertoire extended to impudent lobs and acrobatic volleys. It seems probable that the Yokohama F.Marinos striker’s displays caught the eye of many a scout, who would also have been impressed by his effortless manner and great reading of the game.

adidas Bronze Shoe - Dudu (BRA), 4 goals:
Being a ball-winning midfielder in Brazil is hardly the most glamorous of roles, but it is precisely the task that Dudu has filled with great aplomb throughout the tournament. A tireless worker, he filled the gaps on countless occasions, no mean feat in such an attack-minded team. Better still, he found time to net four goals, the first and “least important” of which was the finest specimen, killing the ball with his chest before lashing home a sweetly struck volley against the Australians in the last group match. His subsequent three strikes on target bore all the hallmarks of decisive goals. Two came against the Slovaks in the last sixteen following fine team moves, the second nothing less than a golden goal. His final goal arrived against the Argentines, when he rose to flick a corner past the stranded keeper. One volley, two well-placed shots and a header… Dudu is every inch the complete player.