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Vote for goal of the tournament

The FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 has enjoyed countless extraordinary moments but, as is often the case, it is the goals that have caused most excitement among the fans in the stands.

FIFA.com has selected the best goals of the tournament and now it is over to you to vote for the winner. From 13 July until midday on 17 July, you have the chance to decide which strike was a cut above the rest.

You can watch videos of all of the ten best goals from Turkey 2013 by clicking on the link to the right. Once you have chosen your favourite, click on ‘Vote’ and we will announce the winner shortly after the deadline.

France claim maiden U-20 crown

Fully in line with the official slogan, ‘Building bridges for future stars’, a high-quality FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 threw the global spotlight on a number of teams and a host of talented players. The broadest smiles at the end were on French faces, as Les Bleuets claimed the U-20 crown for the first time after a nail-biting victory in the final. It also means France are the first nation to win all five FIFA tournaments in men’s 11-a-side international football.

After normal and extra time failed to produce a goal in the final, a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory over Uruguay meant it was France captain Paul Pogba who hoisted the most prestigious trophy in junior football into the Istanbul night sky. In the match for third place, 2009 winners Ghana overcame surprise packages Iraq 3-0 and went home with the consolation prize of bronze. The top four places at the finals were thus filled by teams from four different confederations.

Tight contests, quality football
Overall, the tournament was as tight and evenly-matched as seldom before, partly due to some notable absentees. Argentina, the most successful nation at this age group, holders Brazil, and European heavyweights Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all failed to qualify.

During the finals, fancied trio Spain, Portugal and Colombia were eliminated prior to the semi-finals. In the knockout stage, no fewer than four matches were decided on penalties, with seven games going to extra time. Overall, 33 of the 52 matches either ended in stalemate after 90 minutes or with the sides only a single goal apart.

“We’ve seen some tremendous games. The teams have laid on fantastic football with last-minute goals and penalty shoot-outs,” reflected Jim Boyce, chairman of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. “The coaching staff have definitely encouraged their players to put on a show for the fans and play great football. It means football is the big winner at this World Cup. The quality was very high,” he summarised.


Starlets favour attack over defence
In general, the crowds were treated to attractive attacking football and goals galore. The games in the seven host cities of Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Kayseri, Rize and Trabzon produced a total of 152 goals, the fourth highest total since the expansion of the starting field to 24 teams: the players were only more prolific at Egypt 2009 (167 goals), Malaysia 1997 (165) and Nigeria 1999 (158).

The adidas Golden Boot for the top scorer went to six-goal Ghana striker Ebenezer Assifuah, with the adidas Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper won by Uruguay‘s Guillermo De Amores, who was only beaten three times in the entire tournament.

However, the standout personality at the finals was Pogba. The French schemer, strong in the tackle and boasting exceptional stamina, displayed a remarkable ability to read the play and dictate the pace. He led his team-mates from the front, and was first to get them back on their feet after mishaps.

The midfield general in the making impressively spearheaded Les Bleuets’ march to the trophy, earning Pogba the adidas Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament. “I’m really happy. We’re all delighted it’s ended this way. It’s exceptional,” the player told FIFA.com immediately after the final.


Thrilling stories, indelible memories
Coach Pierre Mankowski’s young French team emerged as the most disciplined and mature of all 24 contenders in Turkey, combining physical robustness with superb individuals in the wide positions. The French made a modest start with a draw against USA and defeat to Spain in their group, but improved with every passing match after that, finding an extra gear at the start of the knockout stage and binding their strong individuals into a tight unit.

As a whole, the tournament was characterised by no end of stories and anecdotes. Ghana, urged on by their ever-present, colourful and raucous fans, earned themselves the label of ‘comeback kings’ after starting with back-to-back defeats and ultimately sneaking into the Round of 16 as the fourth-best of the third-placed teams in the group stage. Having made the knockout rounds, they came from behind to beat Portugal 3-2, before doing exactly the same against Chile in a thrilling 4-3 extra-time victory.


Surprise packages defy expectations
Iraq‘s performance will also go down in the history books, as they reached the semi-finals at the tournament for the first time thanks to their abundant skill, tireless running and tactical flexibility. Furthermore, their uncompromisingly direct attacking style won the hearts of the Turkish public, and also prompted an outbreak of joyful celebration back home. Together with the unexpectedly strong Uzbeks and a well-drilled Korea Republic, they formed a trio of Asian representatives in the last eight, defying most pundits’ pre-tournament predictions.

Among many surprise results, one of the biggest was South American champions Colombia losing on penalties to the South Koreans in the first knockout round. It meant an premature farewell to prodigiously gifted playmaker Juan Quintero, already a classy footballer and glorious proof that the classic ‘No10’ role has not entirely vanished from the present-day game, and might even be set for a renaissance.


Strong South Americans
As for Spain, their outstanding strikeforce led by Jese Rodriguez and Gerard Deulofeu ran up against the brick wall of Uruguay‘s unyielding defence; the European giants were knocked out in the quarter-finals. The Portuguese and five-goal Bruma lost to Ghana a round earlier, while hosts Turkey also fell at the first knockout hurdle. Driven on by their frenetic home fans, the local heroes did defeat El Salvador and Australia in their group, but were ultimately outclassed by eventual champions France in the last 16.

It was left to Uruguay to uphold South American pride at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, as CONMEBOL supplied a finalist for the seventh time in a row – it had always been Brazil or Argentina in the past. However, despite their near-impenetrable back four complemented by the individual class of skilled duo Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Nicolas Lopez, La Celeste ultimately fell by the tightest possible margin to Pogba and company.

The nerve-shredding shootout provided a final highlight but somehow also an appropriate end to an exceptionally close, high-quality and evenly-matched junior tournament.


Teams

Australia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, England, France, Ghana, Greece, Iraq, , Korea Republic, Mali, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan.

Final Ranking

1. France
2. Uruguay
3. Ghana
4. IraqHost cities and Stadiums
Antalya (Akdeniz University Stadium), Bursa (Ataturk Stadium), Gaziantep (Kamil Ocak Stadium), Istanbul (Ali Sami Yen Arena), Kayseri (Kadir Has Stadium), Rize (Yeni Sehir Stadium), Trabzon (Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium)

Goals
152 (average of 2.92 per game)

Top Goalscorers
Ebenezer Assifuah (Ghana) – 6
Bruma (Portugal) – 5
Jese (Spain) – 5

Awards
adidas Golden Ball: Paul Pogba (France)
adidas Golden Boot: Ebenezer Assifuah (Ghana)
adidas Golden Glove: Guillermo De Amores (Uruguay)

FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 Host Cities unveiled

The Host Cities for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 were announced at a media event held at the Maritime Museum in Auckland (New Zealand) today in the presence of John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Dave Beeche, CEO of the LOC for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, and Frank van Hattum, President of New Zealand Football Inc.

The seven Host Cities and stadiums named today are: Auckland (North Harbour Stadium), Christchurch (Christchurch Stadium), Dunedin (Otago Stadium), Hamilton (Waikato Stadium), New Plymouth (Stadium Taranaki), Wellington (Wellington Regional Stadium) and Whangarei (Northland Event Centre).

The FIFA U-20 World Cup – FIFA’s second-biggest men’s tournament – will be held on Oceanian soil for the third time after Australia hosted the competition in 1981 and 1993. The event will take place from 30 May to 21 June 2015.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said: “New Zealand hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1999 and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008 and enjoys a proud history of successfully hosting FIFA events. Bringing the FIFA U-20 World Cup to this sports-loving country will for sure enhance the image and popularity of the beautiful game in New Zealand. The Host Cities play an essential role in delivering a FIFA competition and I am pleased to see that football fans in cities across the whole country will have the chance to become a part of it.”

Dave Beeche, CEO of the LOC for FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, was full of praise for all of the cities that were involved in the bidding process.

“To have seven stunning venues locked in nearly two years out from the first match gives us a great planning time-frame and we’ll use all of it to ensure that a stand-out event is delivered. This tournament has a huge global following and that’s the opportunity we have with this event – to deliver exposure for New Zealand and host regions both directly during the tournament and via a massive international television audience. With the world’s best footballing talent on display and stadiums full of colour, noise and atmosphere, it will be a new experience for New Zealand that everyone will want to be a part of,” said Beeche.

New Zealand will take over as the host of the FIFA U-20 World Cup from Turkey, who organised this year’s edition of the event from 21 June to 13 July.

Season review: Georgia

After Dušan Uhrin Jr left for FC Viktoria Plzeň midway through the season, 38-year-old Malkhaz Zhvania took the reins at FC Dinamo Tbilisi and finished what his Czech predecessor had started by guiding the club to their second straight domestic double. That is something only Dinamo themselves had managed before, in 1997; indeed, it was the first time in 15 years the Georgian champions had defended their crown.

Champions: FC Dinamo Tbilisi
Like most captivating stories, Dinamo’s campaign had three acts. The first one, under Uhrin Jr, brought 36 points in 15 matches. Zhvania took over in December and the theme of success continued – by the end of March, victory over second-placed FC Zestafoni established an 11-point lead at the summit. There were eight games to go and complacency set in. The next six outings yielded just eight points, including a 3-2 loss to Zestafoni, and suddenly Dinamo were looking over their shoulders. They got over the line with one match to spare, though it was not enough to save Zhvania’s job. “We were 11 points ahead at one point and our players got sloppy,” he admitted.

©Badri KetiladzeDinamo after their cup success

Cup final: FC Dinamo Tbilisi 2-1 FC Chikhura Sachkhere
It was a campaign of stark contrasts for Chikhura. They went into the winter break second in the Premier League, with December’s Georgian Super Cup secured, before going into freefall in the spring. Nine defeats in 13 league outings left them fourth, though Samson Pruidze’s team at least maintained their form in the Georgian Cup as they reached a second successive final. When Dinamo were reduced to ten men midway through the first half hope grew, even if Xisco Muñoz did break the deadlock. Giorgi Datunaishvili equalised, only for Otar Martsvaladze to seal a 2-1 win. Dinamo captain and goalkeeper Giorgi Loria said: “It was a very difficult game, but we managed to win and claim the domestic double. I am happy this season has turned out to be so successful.”

European places*
FC Dinamo Tbilisi – UEFA Champions League, second qualifying round
FC Zestafoni – UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round
FC Sioni Bolnisi – UEFA Europa League, first qualifying round
FC Chikhura Sachkhere – UEFA Europa League, first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Giorgi Loria (FC Dinamo Tbilisi)
There has not been an official award yet, but it will be difficult to look past Loria when the time comes. While Xisco was top scorer for the second season running at one end, Loria kept things tight at the other, mustering 14 clean sheets in 30 league outings. Approaching ten years at the club, the 28-year-old has made 171 appearances for Dinamo – a post-independence record for a goalkeeper.

One to watch: Otar Kvernadze (FC Torpedo Kutaisi)
While a number of Torpedo’s best players switched to Zestafoni during the winter, former Torpedo and FC Zenit goalkeeper Mikheil Kvernadze’s son moved in the opposite direction. Tall and skilful, the forward registered seven league goals to help Torpedo finish seventh. In May’s 6-1 defeat of FC WIT Georgia, the 20-year-old became the first player to hit four goals in a Georgian top-flight match in five years.

Surprise package: FC Zestafoni
When Gia Geguchadze replaced Ratko Dostanić at the Zestafoni helm after 11 games, the club had just 15 points and slender hopes of qualifying for the top-six play-offs. After a steady start, they won seven in a row either side of the winter break, without conceding a single goal, and almost gave stuttering Dinamo the fright of their lives as they closed in on the summit. Second was nonetheless an impressive return for a club that marks its tenth anniversary on 18 June.

Leading scorer: Xisco Muñoz, FC Dinamo Tbilisi (19)

Relegated**: FC Zugdidi, FC Merani Martvili

Promoted**: FC Shukura Kobuleti, FC Kolkheti Poti

**Subject to final confirmation

Number: 0
The only zero in the final standings was in the draw column for all-or-nothing FC Guria Lanchkhuti. Back among the elite after 11 years away, Guria made a mark as giant-slayers and were third at one point; having secured a top-six place, though, they lost ten in a row. David Makharadze’s men returned to winning ways on the last day of term and so maintained their zero tolerance towards draws – as, coincidentally, they had done 18 years ago.

Quote
“I would not advise any coach to look at a player’s passport. We proved that it was too early to write off the Sioni players that other clubs rejected because of their age.”
Sioni Bolnisi coach Lado Burduli after his side, featuring 13 players over 30, won seven matches in a row and finished in the top three for the first time in eight years