Uruguay beats Italy to be crown FIFA Under-20 World Cup Champions
Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 on Sunday to win their first Under-20 World Cup title. The Celeste’s victory ends a streak of four consecutive wins by European teams in the tournament.
Luciano Rodriguez scored the winning goal in the 86th minute in a header from close range, giving Uruguay a much deserved victory after dominating the entire match against Italy.
More than 40,000 people, mostly cheering for Uruguay, attended the match at the Diego Maradona Stadium. FIFA President Gianni Infantino was also present.
Uruguay barely needed to count on their steady defense, which conceded only three goals in the tournament, all against England in the group stage.
The South American team had clear chances to open the scoring much earlier in a free kick taken by Rodríguez, two long distance shots by captain Fabricio Díaz and a header by Anderson Duarte that forced Italy goalkeeper Sebastiano Desplanches to make one of the best saves of the tournament.
Italy’s Cesare Casadei, the top tournament’s top scorer with seven goals, had a disappointing performance in the final.
Neither Uruguay nor Italy were among the favorites when the U20 World Cup kicked off on May 20, but unlike Brazil, Argentina and England they faced less resistance from clubs about releasing players for the tournament.
It is not mandatory for clubs to allow their players to take part in international youth competitions.
Uruguay lost the final of the tournament in 1997 and 2013. Brazil were the last winner from South America in 2011.
The title for the Celeste comes in the wake of Argentina’s World Cup title in December, which also ended a sequence of wins by European teams.
Earlier, debutant Israel beat South Korea 3-1 to secure third place in the same stadium in La Plata.
Indonesia were initially scheduled to host the tournament, but the Muslim-majority country did not accept Israel’s participation. FIFA decided to hand the organization over to Argentina one month before kickoff.