At the end of a dramatic FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 final, France lifted the most prestigious trophy in world youth football after overcoming Uruguay in a penalty shootout in Istanbul. Midfield strategist Paul Pogba’s headline-grabbing displays throughout the competition helped lead Les Bleuets to the top of the pile and he was deservedly awarded the adidas Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. Ghana’s Ebenezer Assifuah took home the adidas Golden Boot after finishing as top scorer. FIFA.comrounds up all the award winners.
adidas Golden Ball: Paul Pogba (France)The very presence of the France captain out on the pitch was enough to command opponents’ respect. Pogba’s attributes, from his intimidating physique, fearless tackling, tireless running and the ability to read and determine the pace of the game, made the 20-year-old the team’s undisputed leader. Furthermore, the Juventus midfielder was crucial to the morale of coach Pierre Mankowski’s side, geeing his team-mates up on countless occasions when their heads dropped.
adidas Silver Ball: Nicolas Lopez (Uruguay)
Anyone who has seen Nicolas Lopez play will no doubt have realised the forward is no ordinary talent. The 19-year-old has an invaluable knack of conjuring chances from nothing and while blessed with a devastating turn of pace, he is equally adept at biding his time, waiting for the right moment to pounce. Possessing outstanding technique, the unpredictable Roma front man forces defenders to remain permanently on guard. His contributions were often decisive in helping La Celeste *into the final.* adidas Bronze Ball: Clifford Aboagye (Ghana)**
While Clifford Aboagye may not be able to match the dynamism and athleticism of many of his West African team-mates, the diminutive 18-year-old was without doubt the team’s creative hub. His impeccable technique frequently allowed him to get the better of opponents in tight situations, while his skilful turns created space, enabling him to demonstrate his wonderful range of passing with sensational through-balls. Aboagye’sfour assists at the tournament played a large part in Ghana finishing third.
adidas Golden Boot: Ebenezer Assifuah (Ghana / 6 goals, 0 assists)Ghana’s energetic No17 came into his own when the West Africans had their backs to the wall. It was Assifuah’s brace in the 4-1 triumph over USA that helped the Black Satellites shrug off their shackles following two straight defeats, while he also grabbed the equaliser in a tense 4-3 quarter-final victory over Chile, before heading in the last-gasp winner in extra time. The 20-year-old Liberty Professionals FC forward finished top of the scoring charts and was instrumental in the 2009 champions’ upturn in fortunes which culminated with them returning home with a bronze medal.
adidas Silver Boot: Bruma (Portugal / 5 goals, 2 assists)
He may only be 18, but the attacker wasted no time in showing why his future is predicted to be particularly bright. Given Portugal’s surprising departure in the Round of 16 - after just four games - Bruma’s statistics make impressive reading. The Sporting Lisbon forward, whose role model is Cristiano Ronaldo, was a constant thorn in the side of opposing back lines, with his pace, mobility and close control the source of many a defender’s anguish. As breakthrough performances on the international stage go, Bruma’s will take quite some beating.
adidas Bronze Boot: Jese (Spain / 5 goals, 1 assist) Having arrived in Turkey with a formidable reputation, the Real Madrid frontman wasted little time in showing what all the fuss was about. Just five minutes into La Rojita’s opening game against USA it became clear that talk of the 20-year-old being the future spearhead of Spain’s attack is far from premature as he netted his first goal of the tournament. Just 39 minutes later he notched his second, while his other strikes were all decisive too: Jese scored the only goal of the game against Ghana, the all-important second in the 2-1 win over France, as well as netting in the final minute of the 2-1 Round of 16 triumph over Mexico. The only time Jese failed to find the net was against Uruguay in the quarter-finals, where Spain were eliminated following a 1-0 defeat after extra-time.adidas Golden Glove: Guillermo De Amores (Uruguay)
De Amores was without doubt one of the stand-out characters of the tournament, constantly urging his team-mates forward with thunderous instructions from the back. The importance of his ambition, will to win and outstanding reflex saves in Uruguay’s second-place finish cannot be underestimated. Still just 18, the three goals the Liverpool Montevideo FC shot-stopper conceded in Turkey were the fewest of any custodian at the competition.
adidas FIFA Fair Play Award: SpainDespite their billing as one of the title favourites prior to the tournament, Spain were sent packing in the quarter-finals. Nevertheless, alongside their eye-catching short passing game, the Iberians’ sense of fair play did not go unnoticed. In five games coach Julen Lopetegui’s troops received just five bookings and were deservedly honoured for that achievement.