|International Matches - Under 20|
Spain 0 - Brazil 1
Bouzón, Carlos García, Melli, Peña; Gabi (Manu 88'),
Vitolo; Juanfran, Iniesta, Pina (Gavilán 70'); Sergio García.
Abu Dhabi. Another disappointment for Spain in a youth cup final, the under 20 side following in the footsteps of the under 17 combination earlier in the year, losing to Brazil at the last hurdle. Armando Ufarte's boys put up a brave fight, but were up against it from the third minute when they were left with a man short, the Italian referee Roberto Rosetti rather harshly sending off team captain Melli for pulling back Nilmar as he ran on to a long pass.
For a few minutes it looked as if the South Americans would over-run them, and keeper Riesgo had to make a spectacular save, turning an overhead kick from Brazil's Sevilla based right back Daniel Alves onto the crossbar. Juninho shot over the bar, Nilmar missed a couple of chances and Adailton sent a header skimming over the top as the Brazilians piled on the pressure, and Riesgo saved again from Kleber's header shortly before half time.
Spain's only replies before the break were a couple of shots from Sergio García and Iniesta which keeper Jefferson saved comfortably. The youngsters gradually won control after the break though, and could well have scored on a number of occasions. Jefferson did well to get down to a powerful shot from Vitolo following a short free kick, and saved a couple more efforts from Sergio García. Iniesta broke through the defence but was closed down, and Sergio García got the ball into the net only to see it ruled out for a previous foul.
Riesgo was lucky to be let off with a yellow card though for one foul outside of the area, and Rosetti turned down a couple of penalty appeals by the Brazilians, maybe compensating for his earlier sending-off decision. Everything pointed a another thirty minutes of extra time, but with three minutes to go to the whistle substitute Fernandinho got ahead of Gavilán to fire a powerful header into the net from Daniel's corner.
Ufarte made a late change, bringing on Manu who immediately shot just wide from Sergio García's cross. But even though numbers were evened up when Fernandinho was sent off in the last minute, it was too late for the Europeans to react. Spain's dreams of a repeat of their 1999 success were over, and Brazil went on to their fourth title.
And to add insult to injury, Iniesta and his colleagues were passed over for the best player of the tournament awards, the three prizes going to Ismael Matar of UAE (first), and Daniel Alves and top scorer Dudu of Brazil (second and third respectively). But at least the country can be proud of their performance. .