Brazil 2019 comes to thrilling conclusion
Hosts become second side to hoist trophy on home soil
France place third with three goals from Kalimuendo-Muinga
The final day at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™ came to a close with an increasingly familiar scene: Brazil raising the trophy aloft as world champions.
A Seleção collected their fourth U-17 crown after an emotional 2-1 triumph over Mexico in the final at Brasilia's Estadio Bezerrao. The Brazilians have now moved within one title of equalling record holders Nigeria, though this was their first since 2003. It also may have been the sweetest, given that the South Americans became only the second team to top the competition as hosts – the first, interestingly enough, was Mexico eight years ago.
For the second straight match, Lazaro was Brazil's super sub. On Thursday he capped his side's comeback against France in the semi-final by bagging the winning goal in the 89th minute. On Sunday the No20 left it even later. Brazil fell behind in the 66th minute when Bryan Gonzalez beat adidas Golden Glove winner Matheus Donelli with a superbly-directed header. A Kaio Jorge penalty goal brought Brazil roaring back 18 minutes later, and Lazaro's volleyed, close-range strike three minutes into second-half stoppage time sealed the trophy for the hosts.
In the third-place match, France rode Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga's hat-trick to victory over European rivals the Netherlands. Both teams benefitted from the reintroduction of their captains, who missed their respective semi-finals. Oranje field general Kenneth Taylor assisted the opening goal of the match, flicking a pass over the French defence to play Mohamed Taabouni in on goal. France captain Lucien Agoume countered with an incisive through ball seven minutes later, which eventually led to Kalimuendo-Muinga's first goal. The Paris Saint-Germain starlet scored two more in the second period en route to Les Bleuets' bronze medal finish.
Final [[flag-mex-xs]] Mexico 1-2 Brazil [[flag-bra-xs]] Third-place match [[flag-ned-xs]] Netherlands 1-3 France [[flag-fra-xs]]
The goal that almost wasn't Kaio Jorge's penalty goal in the 84th minute revitalised both his team and the home crowd, but it nearly didn't come off for a pair of reasons. Initially not judged a penalty on the field, Alejandro Gomez's sliding challenge of Gabriel Veron in the box was later reviewed by VAR, and the call was reversed. The Brazilian No9's shot from the spot did not fool goalkeeper Edu Garcia, who got a hand to it. But Kaio Jorge's aim and power were enough to propel the ball past Garcia and into the net.
No early chances Mexico's unrelenting defence played a large part in their run through the tournament. Coming into the final they had not conceded a first-half goal in any match, and that remained true on Sunday at Estadio Bezerrao. Peppered with promising Brazilian team moves featuring Veron and Kaio Jorge, captain Eugenio Pizzuto and El Tri did enough to deny their opposition the goal they sought in the opening period, keeping the tie level and even grabbing a second-half lead before succumbing to defeat.
French firepower Arnaud Kalimuendo-Muinga became the second French player to rack up three goals in one outing at Brazil 2019, joining Nathanael Mbuku, who did it in the Round of 16. No other team in the tournament boasts a duo of hat-trick scorers. France's attack was surely one of competition's best. They overpowered a pair of knockout stage opponents - Australia (4-0) and Spain (6-1) - before succumbing to the hosts in their semi-final.
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