Despite the absence of their star player Neymar, Brazil lifted the FIFA Under 20 World Cup for the fifth time in their history.
Colombia provided the scene for this memorable tournament for the Brazilians, who also finished as the most lethal team in front of goal, scoring 18 goals.
Brazil narrowly missed out in 2009 as they lost in the final to Ghana, but this year the Selecao overcame Portugal in the final to lift the trophy.
Goalkeeper Gabriel was in stunning form throughout the tournament to keep the goals out. Danilo and Bruno Uvini also shone at the back to provide the backbone of Brazil’s winning side. Casemiro and Coutinho were both strong in midfield and provided ammunition for strikers Henrique and Oscar.
Henrique finished the tournament with the Adidas Golden Ball and the Adidas Golden Boot whilst Oscar scored a superb hat-trick in the final to secure his side’s victory.
The champions started the tournament with a fustrating 1-1 draw with Egypt. This was soon put behind them as they beat Panama and Austria 4-0 and 3-0 respectively.
After the disappointment of the Under 17 World Cup and the Copa America, this trophy was exactly the boost that Brazilian football needed ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup.
Record Crowds in Colombia
The tournament celebrated record crowds in Colombia. The colourful support of the home country provided a stunning spectacle for everyone involved in the tournament. 1,309,929 fans turned out to watch the tournament which goes a long way to healing Colombian football since their withdrawal from the 1986 World Cup.
James Rodriguez stood out for the hosts but unfortunately they couldn’t pass the quarter-final stage. They were defeated by the eventual third place side, Mexico. This tournament demonstrated the progress that Mexican football is making at every level. Mexico are looking like they could be a really strong country in years to come on the senior scene.
Safe Hands from Mika
Runners-up Portugal can boast one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament after Mika’s performances helped them form a near-unbeatable defence. Portugal did not concede a goal throughout the whole tournament, playing 575 minutes without conceding, a new record for the tournament.
Surprise of the Tournament
One surprise of the tournament was Guatemala’s progress to the last sixteen. They managed to qualify from the group stage despite having a goal difference of -10!
England’s Goalless Qualification
England qualified from the group stage but lost out to Nigeria in the next round. Brian Eastick’s side failed to score a goal in the tournament. They drew with Argentina, Mexico and Korea DPR in the group stage and qualified thanks to the fact they hadn’t conceded either!
Ones to Watch
Henrique finished the tournament as joint top-scorer and the winner of the Golden Ball. His finishing was clinical whilst his overall play was admirable. He will have a lot of top European clubs looking at him by the end of the transfer window.
Amongst the other nominees for this year’s Golden Ball was Danilo and Nelson Oliveira of Portugal. James Rodriguez of Colombia was inspirational for the hosts and deserved a place on the shortlist. Hugo Mallo of Spain could be a future World-Cup winner as he impressed crowds in South America. Jorge Enriquez, Gueida Fofana, Carlos Luque, Ahmed Musa and Coutinho also all impressed and could of easily picked up some sort of award from the tournament.