Some 16 years after Maradona's supremely gifted generation lifted this trophy in 1979, another vintage crop of young Argentines came along. The '95 side may have been less talented individually than their elders, but José Pekerman's squad were a well-oiled winning machine nonetheless: solid in defence, efficient in the middle of the park and tactically mature. The Albiceleste also boasted players with leadership qualities throughout their team : goalkeeper Joaquin Irigoytia, central defender and captain Juan Sorin, midfield ace Ariel Ibagaza and striker Walter Coyette. Some fine coaching by Pekerman also made a difference when it mattered: in both the semi-final and the Final (2-0 against the old enemy Brazil), his substitutes scored all-important goals.
There were no big surprises in this FIFA World Youth Championship in Qatar, the footballing hierarchy being respected for the most part. Four Latin sides reached the semi-finals; Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Portugal, each playing highly exciting football. Individually, it was the Brazilians who won most plaudits - not for the first time.
Two footballing "minnows" reached the quarter-finals by playing some superb football. The Young Socceroos from Australia emerged from a tough-looking group that included Germany and Costa Rica, finishing second behind Cameroon, and in the quarters they took Portugal to extra-time only to lose to a golden goal. Mark Viduka really came of age in this tournament (4 goals in 4 matches), and Josip Skoko showed off his not inconsiderable talents.
The other surprise came from Japan, who also escaped from a strong group (Spain, Burundi, Chile), before losing out to Brazil in the quarter-finals (2-1). Koji Tanaka's charges impressed with their finesse but they also turned heads with their new-found determination to hold their own physically. This tournament also marked the arrival on the world stage of the supremely talented Hidetoshi Nakata.
Player of the Tournament:
Once again Brazil boasted the most technically gifted side of the tournament. Among the plethora of talent on display in the Seleçao ranks, most experts picked out Caio as the shining star. An elegant passer and goalscorer, Caio netted five times and made two vital assists on the way to the Final. Around the penalty area he was always one step ahead, and his sublime technique did the rest. Caio left Sao Paulo for Inter Milan after the tournament, then moved on to Napoli before returning home for spells with Santos, Flamengo and Fluminense, where he still plays today.
Juan Sorin (ARG), Mark Viduka (AUS), Caio (BRA), Luizao (BRA), Zé Elias (BRA), Pierre Wome (CMR), Geremi Njitap Fotso (CMR), Hector Tapia (CHI), Paulo Wanchope (CRC), Ryuzo Morioka (JPN), Hidetoshi Nakata (JPN), Kitzito Musampa (NED), Dani (POR), Ivan De la Pena (ESP), Joseba (ESP), Raul Blanco (ESP), Miguel Salgado (ESP), Fernando Morientes (ESP), ...
Qatar 1995 stats:
105 (av.: 3.28)
Spain, 19 goals
- Joseba (ESP), 7 goals
- Dani (POR), 4 goals, 5 assists
- Caio (BRA) 5 goals, 2 assists
All games were played in Doha at the Khalifa Stadium, the Al-Ahli Club and the Qatar Club.
455,000 (Final: 65,000)
The Netherlands - Honduras game was brought to a halt by the referee: four members of the Central American side had been sent off, a fifth was seriously injured and all the substitutes had been used. Luis Paz Camargo's side only had seven players on the field, which is not allowed. So for the first time in an official FIFA tournament a match was stopped before the end.