Individually brilliant and collectively formidable, champions Nigeria proved an unstoppable force at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 and their dominance was underlined when the time came to recognise the tournament's leading performers.
adidas awards for outstanding performers have become an integral part of all FIFA tournaments. They also carry extra weight at competitions reserved for younger players as indicators of huge potential in these young stars of the future.
adidas Golden Ball Award: Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
The rampaging midfielder tormented every defence he came up against and made the most stunning of entrances by helping himself to four goals against Mexico in his side's group opener. The poacher then showed he could provide too, laying on no fewer than seven assists for his team-mates, all this while taking his personal goal tally to six, enough to secure him the adidas Silver Boot as the competition's second-highest goalscorer. In total, he had a direct hand in exactly half of the 26 goals the Golden Eaglets scored in the UAE.
adidas Silver Ball Award: Nathan (Brazil)
adidas Bronze Ball Award: Ivan Ochoa (Mexico)
adidas Golden Boot Award: Valmir Berisha (Sweden)
The Albanian-born Swedish striker is an out-and-out penalty box predator, ready to pounce at any stage of the game, as he proved in grabbing a hat-trick in the match for third place against Argentina. As well as ensuring that the tournament newcomers finished on the podium, that treble took the skilful yet deadly Berisha's goal tally to seven, putting him top of the UAE 2013 scoring charts.
adidas Silver Boot Award: Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria)
adidas Bronze Boot Award: Boschilia (Brazil)
adidas Golden Glove Award: Dele Alampasu (Nigeria)
It is just as well for such a resolutely attack-minded side as Nigeria that they can count on someone like Alampasu between the posts. The giant custodian had an outstanding three weeks and showed his many qualities in an impeccable display in the final. Dealing calmly with everything the Mexicans had to throw at him, the impressive shot-stopper used his height to cut out crosses and his agility to pull off a series of sharp saves.
FIFA Fair Play Award: Nigeria
The FIFA Fair Play Award, reserved for the team best exemplifying the values of sportsmanship both on and off the field as decided by a jury comprising members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG), went to Nigeria. The champions were rightly recognised for their sportsmanship and infectious approach to the game. Their enthusiastic goal celebrations, complete with pumping arms and index fingers pointing skywards, caught the imagination of everyone and were even copied by Sweden's players.