The 83rd edition of the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup enjoyed a dramatic final day
FC Zurich edged Corinthians on penalties to win the men's tournament
A shootout also decided the women's competition, with Vancouver Whitecaps prevailing over FC Basel
Penalty shootouts were required to settle both the men's and women's tournaments on a thrilling final day at the 2023 Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup as FC Zurich and Vancouver Whitecaps took home the respective trophies.
The Swiss side, who prevailed in this hometown event for the first time in ten years, produced a defensive masterclass, registering clean sheets in the semi-final - a 2-0 win over Grasshoppers - before holding Corinthians at bay throughout a tense and goalless decider.
Remarkably, the Brazilians couldn't even find the net in the shootout that followed as some goalkeeping heroics and poor finishing allowed FC Zurich to win 2-0 on penalties.
The Whitecaps, meanwhile, saw off two Swiss opponents to become the first Canadian side to triumph at this prestigious youth event.
The manner of their victories was near-identical, with 1-1 draws against FC Zurich and FC Basel in the semi-final and final respectively followed by 5-3 and 5-4 shootout triumphs.
Group A FC Basel 2-1 Olympique Marseille FC Zurich 3-0 Academie Generation Foot Group B FC Blue Stars 0-1 Liverpool Grasshoppers 0-0 Corinthians Semi-finals Academie Generation Foot 0-0 (3-4 PSO) Corinthians Grasshoppers 0-2 FC Zurich
Final Corinthians 0-0 (0-2 PSO) FC Zurich
Group A FC Zurich 1-0 Arsenal FC Basel 1-0 FC Rosengard
Group B Grasshoppers 4-1 Juventus BSC YB Women 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps Semi-finals FC Zurich 1-1 (3-5 PSO) Vancouver Whitecaps BSC YB Women 2-2 (4-5 PSO) FC Basel
Final Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 (5-4 PSO) FC Basel
adidas Golden Ball: Gabriel Moscardo (Corinthians) adidas Golden Glove: Kaue (Corinthians) FIFA Fair Play: FC Blue Stars
adidas Golden Ball: Nyema Ingleton (Vancouver Whitecaps) adidas Golden Glove: Leah Parsons (Vancouver Whitecaps) FIFA Fair Play: FC Zurich
“It was a great team effort. With friends, families and also some fans from the first team in the crowd, the atmosphere in the stadium was of course was an extra motivation. It definitely gave us an extra push and the boys coped very well with the attention they got. I’m very happy for them." Genesio Collatrella, FC Zurich coach
"I’m very sad about the defeat and the fact I didn’t score my penalty, but I’m happy to receive the trophy for the best player of the tournament. I would have preferred to leave with two trophies, but I’m very proud of the team. I really enjoyed being here playing in this FIFA tournament. The atmosphere was great, a lot of fans were watching, and we could really feel that we played a local team in the final." Gabriel Moscardo, Corinthians player and adidas Golden Ball winner
"I’ve loved it so much being here with my team and playing this tournament. We were working so hard for this and we knew we could make it, so getting across the finish line was awesome. The atmosphere was amazing too! We are not used to that big of a crowd. Even when the fans were cheering against us, we had each other. It really just made us stronger." Nyema Ingleton, Vancouver Whitecaps player and adidas Golden Ball winner
“I’m very satisfied with the girls’ performance. They gave 100 per cent in every match and we tried to include all the players. I think our game plan [in the final] pretty much worked out. It’s very unfortunate that we were not ready in the last 30 seconds of the game and then got defeated in penalties, but I’m still very proud of my team. The atmosphere and the organisation was definitely was a highlight for all of them." Egzona Selimi, FC Basel coach
“For us it is very important that teams from everywhere around the world are able to enjoy such experiences. It has been great for Generation Foot, one of the very good academies in Africa,. They sowed their qualities in this tournament and this is very pleasing and very important to us. I think the tournament was a success.” Gelson Fernandes, FIFA Director Member Associations Africa