Brazil became the first nation to win two consecutive FIFA World Youth Championships when they triumphed at USSR '85. Once again, the artistry and tactical superiority of the Auriverde wooed the public and exasperated opposition defences. The Seleçao qualified for the knockout stage with consummate ease, emerging from a tough looking group including Spain, Ireland Republic and Saudi Arabia, before really turning on the style against the hapless Colombians in the quarters (6-0). Much-fancied Nigeria were next to come under the cosh (2-0), before Spain went down fighting in the Final (1-0). Collectively brilliant, the Brazilians who caught the eye were defender Joao Antonio, defensive midfielder Tosin, playmaker Silas and strikers Muller and Gerson.
Tactical know-how and mental resolve helped make Nigeria the first ever African side to reach the semi-final stage in this tournament. Paul Hamilton's men adapted their 4-3-3 formation to each game, including a gritty fight-back from two goals down against Australia to win 3-2. The Flying Eagles' boldest performance came against Mexico, when, full of running, they edged out the much fancied Tricolores by the slimmest of margins (2-1).
Player of the Tournament:
Seleçao linchpin Paulo Silas was voted the tournament's most valuable player for his role as passer and linkman between the lines of attack. Silas was a class act, and his impressive performances in the USSR proved to be the launchpad for a distinguished career that saw him play in two FIFA World Cups (1986 and 1990) and ply his trade with Brazilian side Sao Paulo, Sporting Lisbon of Portugal, Italian outfit Sampdoria and Argentina's San Lorenzo. His trophy cabinet is packed with domestic trinkets, and his international honours include a Copa America triumph in 1989 with the Seleçao.
Muller (BRA), Paulo Silas (BRA), Claudio Taffarel (BRA), Krassimir Balakov (BUL), Emil Kostadinov (BUL), René Higuita (COL), Juan Goicoechea (ESP), Rafa Paz (ESP), Alberto Garcia Aspe (MEX), ...
USSR 1985 stats:
80 (av.: 2.50)
Brazil, 14 goals
- Sebastian Losada (ESP), Fernando Gomez (ESP), Monday Odiaka (NGA), 3 goals
Bakou, Erevan, Leningrad, Minsk, Moscou, Oktemberyan, Tbilissi, Sumgait
657,800 (final: 41,000)
The 1985 FIFA World Youth Championship top goalscorers only hit the net 3 times, a record low. This "record" was equalled in 1993 by Colombian Henry Zambrano.