History of FIFA U-20 World Cup

Monday, March 12, 2007
The FIFA U-20 World Cup is a football competition for male players under the age of 20, and it has ushered into the game of football the most skillful and renowned footballers of the world.

Former Brazilian FIFA boss, Dr. Joáo Havelange, had promised to launch the tournament when he was elected in 1974 as FIFA President so as to add adventure of naturalness to the youth games.

In 1977, the FIFA World Youth Championship was founded and Tunisia became the first nation to host the tournament in the same year Also known as FIFA Coca-Cola Cup until 1997, the competition will be called, for the first time in Canada 2007, the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The former Soviet Union was the first nation to win the tournament at the finals in Tunisia when they beat Mexico on a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw.

The competition started with only 16 teams and as such only 28 matches were played in each competition.

However, at the 1997 tournament in Malaysia, the number of participating nations was increased to 24 slots with 52 scheduled matches in the tournament

In the first two tournaments of the competition, each half was only played for 40 minutes and any subsequent extra time was played for 10 minutes – but this method was quickly changed during the 1981 tourney in Australia where the standard procedure of the world cup proper was implemented – 45 minutes in each half and 15 minutes in any ensuing extra time. The tournament is held every two years since its inauguration and South America has emerged as the power house, as they have won nine of the 15 tournaments hosted so far.

Arch rivals, Argentina and Brazi, have both won the cup nine times between them - five and four trophies respectively.

Even though they are the second highest winners, Brazil have never hosted the tournament.

Hitherto, 576 goals have been scored in total of 1581 in the 15 tournaments hosted.

Argentina star - Javier Saviola still remains the highest goal scorer with 11 goals in 7 matches during the 2001 tournament in Argentina and remains the only player to win both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards and better yet, he did it simultaneously.

Diego Armando Maradona was the first notable world player to emerge from the tournament and reached world stardom.

Columbia’s Rene Higuita and Chile’s Jose Chilavert were the first goalkeepers to attain world fame after their participation in the tournament followed by Brazil’s Claudio Taffarel. Portugal and Argentina are the only two nations that have hosted and subsequently won the tournament in 1991 and 2001 respectively.

Six confederations in the six continents participate in the tournament and all but the Oceanic continent have played in a final match of the tournament.
Author: Written by Allieu Badara Mansaray
Source: The Daily Observer
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