In a dramatic final at El Campin in the Colombian capital Bogota, Brazil claimed the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the fifth time with a 3-2 extra-time victory over Portugal. The South Americans’ thrilling triumph owed much to a host of outstanding individuals, none more so than Henrique, who duly collected the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Boot as the tournament’s best player and top scorer. Players from gallant runners-up Portugal were also recognised for thier unexpected run to final: Nelson Oliveira won the adidas Silver Ball as the tournament’s second-best player, and Mika was named best keeper. FIFA.com reviews the roll of honour.
adidas Golden Ball: Henrique (Brazil)
Henrique was deservedly named best player after contributing five vital goals to the South Americans’ fifth triumph at U-20 level. In fact, the Sao Paulo striker was not an automatic pick at the start of the tournament, coming on for Willian as an 80th-minute sub in Brazil’s opening match against Egypt. Even in the short time remaining, the 20-year-old did enough to persuade coach Ney Franco to start with him from then on. The striker immediately repaid the coach’s faith with his side’s opening goal in their second match against Austria, and four more were to follow in the course of the finals.
adidas Silver Ball: Nelson Oliveira (Portugal)
The lightning-quick forward was one of Portugal’s most influential players, as the unfancied Europeans stormed to a terrific success at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2011. He scored four of his team’s goals, and had a hand in both goals in the final as his side came agonisingly close to a shock victory. His pacy thrust initially set up Alex to level the scores, before he personally stepped in to put his side 2-1 up, scoring from an almost impossibly tight angle. The award recognises his increasingly crucial contribution as the tournament went on, as his goals propelled the Portuguese to a place in the final itself.
adidas Bronze Ball: Jorge Enriquez (Mexico)
Jorge Enriquez was the undisputed leader and decision-maker for the Mexicans in Colombia, spearheading his team’s drive to a fine third-place finish, and appearing in all El Tri’s seven matches up to and including the match for third-place in Bogota. Enriquez scored his personal best goal of the finals in that match to set the seal on a highly promising performance at the 2011 finals. The 20-year-old Guadalajara midfielder, arguably the best of a very good bunch of Mexican juniors at the present time, also made his maiden appearances for the senior national team at this summer’s Copa America in Argentina.
adidas Golden Glove: Mika
The FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) recognised Portuguese keeper Mika’s consistent brilliance in Colombia with the adidas Golden Glove as best goalkeeper. The 1.84m Leiria shot-stopper did not concede a single goal in normal or extra time until the fifth minute of the final against Brazil, when a run of 585 minutes without a goal against came to an end. Nevertheless, Mika was one of the outstanding individuals in Portugal’s run to the runners-up spot.
adidas Golden Boot: Henrique (Brazil/5 goals, 3 assists)
Brazil emerged as the tournament’s premier attacking force with a total of 18 goals. Five of those came from Henrique, who also set up another three for team-mates, a performance good enough to secure the adidas Golden Boot as the top scorer in Colombia. His two goals in the semi-final against Mexico were the most important of all, as he single-handedly saw his side through to the final, but he had already hit the target against Austria and Panama at the group stage, and added another in a 3-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the Round of 16.
adidas Silver Boot: Alvaro Vazquez (Spain/ 5 goals, 2 assists)
Alvaro Vazquez hit the headlines in Spain’s commanding victory over Australia, scoring a first-half hat-trick as his team went on to win a Group C encounter 5-1. The last of his five goals came in the quarter-final meeting with Brazil, as he levelled the scores at 2-2 in the 102nd minute. However, the striker’s joy would turn to sorrow just a short time later: it was he who missed the decisive spot-kick as his side were eliminated on penalties.
adidas Bronze Boot: Alexandre Lacazette (France/ 5 goals, 1 assist)
France sharp-shooter Alexandre Lacazette emerged as the tournament’s super sub, scoring three times after coming off the bench. The Olympique Lyon man’s goals were generally important ones too. His strikes against Korea Republic and Mali effectively settled the outcome in favour of the French, and the 20-year-old was the match-winner against Nigeria in the quarter-finals, contributing a brace to the 3-2 win which sent the Europeans through to the last four. Lacazette also netted his side’s only goal in the 3-1 defeat to Mexico in the third-place play-off, taking his personal tally to five for the tournament.
FIFA Fair Play Award: Nigeria
Nigeria’s campaign ended in the quarter-finals, but a very good team deservedly earned a couple of mentions in the roll of honour. The Africans earned plaudits for their uninhibited attacking approach and finished second-highest scorers with 15 goals in their five matches. Even more impressively, they collected a mere three yellow cards and were thus the fairest team at the FIFA U-20-World Cup by some distance.