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Brazil Crowned Under 20 World Champions

The favourites completed their campaign with a victory in the final after a less than convincing performance.

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The final was played to a full house in Bogota, a scene not unusual in this tournament where attendance has been fantastic. The game began at a lively pace with the typical levels of flair you would expect from such a clash. Brazil took an early lead as Oscar struck a free kick from somewhere around the 40 yard mark. His effort was hit with a great deal of bend, swerve, and pace and flew past the target men in the opposition’s area. The Portuguese goalkeeper Mika was rooted to the spot as the ball found its way into the corner of his net without a touch on it. It was the first time the young ‘keeper had been beaten in 547 minutes during the tournament.

Despite taking an early lead, Portugal struck back after another 4 minutes. Nelson Oliveira was played in down the channel and chased the ball to the byline, upon which he cut the ball back into the area. Alex ghosted in from the far side, beating the defenders to the ball and slotting the ball in, bringing his country level.

Brazil missed a chance to put themselves back ahead after a goal mouth scramble ended up with Mika narrowly saving the day, palming the ball of the line after it connected with both post and crossbar. However, after the break it was Portugal who took the lead through their most impressive player. Oliveira chased a long ball wide on the right and picked it up by the half way line. A quick look up proved he had no support so he went it alone. He beat Juan for pace down the right flank and shot from a narrow angle before Casemiro could get across to cover. His shot slipped under Gabriel and into the net, putting Portugal ahead.

In response Brazil brought on Dudu of Cruzeiro who has previously made a great impact when coming off the bench in the tournament. A cheeky turn in the box gave him enough space to put a cross in which Mika parried into the path of Oscar. The Internacional youngster duly volleyed the ball into the net with just 12 minutes left on the clock.

Half way through the first period of extra time, Caetano had a superb one-on-one chance against Gabriel. He attempted to lob the ‘keeper but did not get enough elevation, allowing the Brazilian to make the save.

The chance was one to be rued as in the second period of extra time, Oscar completed a memorable hat-trick. His cross-cum-shot wide on the right caught Mika unawares. The ball sailed over him and into the far corner of the net, though Oscar will no doubt claim that he meant it.

They made hard work of it but eventually came out on top, winning the country’s 5th Under 20 World Cup title. It was a squad of tremendous talent who certainly deserved the trophy.

Sao Paulo striker Henrique won the Golden Boot award having scored 5 goals during the course of their campaign, as well as beating Nelson Oliveira to the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament. Mika was also awarded with the Golden Glove for his consistent excellence in Colombia.

Read more from Tom at his excellent blog Purple Patch

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