- Olympique Lyonnais win title in first-ever appearance
- Swiss derby for third place
- Lyon’s Alan Dzabana named player of the tournament
THE TOURNAMENT REPLAYED – Olympique Lyonnais of France won the 79th Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup tournament in their first-ever appearance, defeating Belgian representatives Anderlecht 1-0 in the final.
For the past two years, Swiss teams had managed to keep the trophy on home soil, but none of the four domestic clubs managed to make it into the final this year. Nevertheless, there was a Zurich derby in the third-place play-off, with FC Zurich defeating last year’s winners Grasshoppers 1-0 in a tight match.
The ninth-place play-off was also an all-Swiss affair, with FC St. Gallen showing no quarter in their 4-0 win over FC Blue Stars. The seventh-place match went all the way to penalties, with Mainz 05 edging Independiente Santa Fe from Colombia 8-7 in a battle of two Blue Stars debutants. London outfit West Ham United defeated Benfica 3-1 to secure fifth spot.
In terms of individual awards, two Lyon players picked up some more silverware to take back to France. Alan Dzabana won the adidas Golden Ball as the player of the tournament, while Anthony Racioppi was voted the adidas Golden Glove, as the tournament’s best goalkeeper. Anderlecht, meanwhile, won the FIFA Fair Play Award.
9th/10th: FC Blue Stars - FC St. Gallen 0-4
7th/8th: Independiente Santa Fe - Mainz 05 7-8 (on penalties)
5th/6th: West Ham United - Benfica 3-1
3rd/4th: Grasshoppers Zurich - FC Zurich 0-1
Final: Olympique Lyonnais - RSC Anderlecht 1-0
Lyon’s Alan Dzabana took the event by storm and won the adidas Golden Ball as the player of the tournament. Perhaps the best illustration of his talent came in the 2-0 win over West Ham, when he scored both goals, one of them a fabulous solo effort that got the fans out of their seats.
First-time Blue Stars entrants Santa Fe brought a touch of South American flair to the sports complex in Buchlern, located to the west of Zurich. The youngsters went about their matches with a smile on their faces and a spring in their steps, and that extended to their pre-match routine in the changing rooms, where they warmed up by dancing and added an exotic touch to proceedings.
"We came to Zurich to play a good tournament. We worked really hard and prepared for this great event right down to the smallest detail. And we really took the fight to all of our opponents. We were incredibly well prepared. It’s not easy for the players to have 40-minute matches. Everything passes by so quickly. We are probably the ones who dealt best with the fatigue, and we managed to keep enough in reserve until the end. My players understood how it works right from the very beginning, and as a coach, all you can do is acknowledge how well they did. Congratulations to them."
Lyon coach Cristiano 'Cris' Marques Gomes
"We’re over the moon. We never though that we’d win the tournament. We came to Zurich to see how far we would get, so winning the whole thing is obviously amazing for us. We played our own brand of football, we were well set up and, at the end of the day, we’re taking the trophy home with us. What more could you ask for?"
Lyon No.9 Alan Dzabana
Winners - Olympique Lyonnais
2nd place - RSC Anderlecht
3rd place - FC Zurich
4th place - Grasshoppers Zurich
5th place - West Ham United
6th place - Benfica
7th place - 1. FSV Mainz 05
8th place - Independiente Santa Fe
9th place - FC St. Gallen
10th place - FC Blue Stars
adidas Golden Ball - Alan Dzabana (Olympique Lyonnais)
adidas Golden Glove - Anthony Racioppi (Olympique Lyonnais)
FIFA Fair Play Award - RSC Anderlecht