Argentina were crowned FIFA World Youth Champions for the fifth time as Netherlands 2005 came to a close in early July after 52 high-quality matches. Lionel Messi's two penalties were not only enough to secure Argentina's 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the final in Utrecht, they also made him the adidas Golden Shoe winner as top scorer with six goals. Messi, reminiscent of a young Diego Maradona at times, also won the adidas Golden Ball award for being voted the tournament's best player.

To complete a day of double disappointment for African teams, Morocco saw the bronze medal slip through their fingers in Utrecht, despite leading with two minutes to go, as Brazil won 2-1.

Costa Rica booked the last ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005 after a 1-1 draw in Honduras gave them a 3-2 aggregate win in the CONCACAF third-place play-off. Costa Rica were rewarded by being pitted against hosts Peru, Ghana and China when the draw was made later in July. Holders Brazil were placed in a tough group with Netherlands, Gambia and Qatar.

USA were made to struggle before claiming their third CONCACAF Gold Cup title as Cinderella finalists Panama held them to a 0-0 extra-time draw before succumbing on penalties in the final in New York. 

Sao Paulo qualified for the FIFA Club World Championship Japan 2005 with a 5-1 aggregate win over Atletico Paranaense to become the first Brazilian side to win the Copa Libertadores three times: 1992, 1993 and 2005.

Germany, Finland and France all reached the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship Russia 2006 after making the semi-finals of the European finals. With Russia defeating France on penalties in the final, the last qualifying place for the tournament they are hosting went to Switzerland, who beat England in a play-off.
Kenya were ordered to play their next 2006 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier (against Tunisia) behind closed doors after several incidents during their last home match with Morocco.

Around USD 2.8 million from the joint FIFA/AFC Tsunami Solidarity Fund was released for football infrastructure reconstruction projects in associations affected by the disaster. Included in the allocation were funds for building the Tsunami Memorial Football Centre in Thailand.

FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking
Germany (11th, up 10) were the biggest winners in July with their highest position in more than a year thanks to impressive results in the FIFA Confederations Cup. The finalists in Germany, Brazil and Argentina, retained their places at the top. USA (6th, up 4) moved to their best-ever ranking position, one behind regional rivals Mexico. Iran (15th, up 2) were another team celebrating a highest-ever placing.

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™
There were no 2006 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers in July 2005.

July Key Dates:
2 - Argentina win FIFA World Youth Championship
8 - Former Italy international Gianfranco Zola announces his retirement
15 - Mexican football association fined CHF 750,000 regarding its conduct during the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005
16 - FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005 draw, Chiclayo
19-22 - FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter leads delegation to visit Goal projects in east Africa
27-29 - 'Visions of Football' international conference, Munich
30 - FIFA Club World Championship draw, Tokyo

  Three top stories:
  FIFA World Youth Championship - tournament review
  Sao Paulo - kings of South America
  Goal programme nets success in East Africa