France clinched a maiden under-20 World Cup title on Saturday after defeating Uruguay 4-1 on penalties following a goalless draw in Istanbul.

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was the hero for France as he saved spot-kicks from Emiliano Velazquez and Giorgian De Arrascaeta in the shootout before Dimitri Foulquier swept the winning penalty beyond Uruguay's Guillermo De Amores.

Both 'keepers were instrumental in sending the game to extra time, and penalties, with Areola making crucial stops to deny Nicolas Lopez and Felipe Avenatti during the regulation 90 minutes, while De Amores produced two sharp saves to keep out Jordan Veretout and Alexy Bosetti in the closing stages of normal time.

Earlier, Ghana secured third place after beating Iraq 3-0 with goals from Joseph Attamah, Ebenezer Assifuah and Frank Acheampong.

The 2013 U-20 Turkey World Cup, is probably the most exciting youth tournament to date! France strolled their way to the Final after beating Ghana 2-1, while Uruguay fought an uphill battle throughout the competition to get where they are.

The Charrua team pulled out a miraculous victory against the tournament's favorites, Spain in the Quarter-finals. A header in extra time by Fernando Avenatti gave the Celestes a ticket to face Iraq. The middle-eastern team proved to be another mountain hard to topple for the Uruguayans. 

Uruguay managed to snatch the victory away from the Iraqis when a late second-half goal by Gonzalo Bueno, gave the South Americans an opportunity to take the game to overtime and ultimately to penalties, where the teams got pushed into sudden death that ended 8-7.

A 1-0 defeat against Uruguay sent Spain spinning out of the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey at the quarter-final stage. The dreams of Julen Lopetegui's youngsters turned sour when Felipe Avenatti headed home in the first half of extra time, signalling the demise of one of the big favourites to win the title.

Spain and Uruguay faced each other in a match in which the strength of the contenders made it worthy of a draw for the last four rather than the last eight. Fate pitted two of the best sides in the tournament against each other, reserving a spot in the semis for either Iraq or South Korea - two of the competition's underdogs, who will decide which team makes it through to the final four tomorrow.

With the prospect of an on-paper weaker rival in the bid to secure a place in the final on 13th July, Spain and Uruguay sent their best players out onto the Bursa Atatürk Stadium pitch. Both sides went for broke in the quest to reach the last four, a feat that, incredibly, no Spain team has managed since Iniesta & co. did so in the United Arab Emirates.

Manager Julen Lopetegui decided to leave out Paco Alcácer, who started against Mexico, replacing him with Liverpool midfielder Suso Fernández. Spain played with a false nine, Vicente del Bosque style. However, the line-up also included Gerard Deulofeu, Oliver Torres and Jesé Rodríguez, three big names whose varied contributions over the course of the match were nevertheless not enough to prevent Spain from being dumped out.


The game that is on Spain’s DNA, that of taking care of the ball, and getting out of trap on tippy toes, leaving three defenders behind, started to take off in the 65st minute of the round of 16 match against Mexico’s Under-20 team.


Julen Lopetegui, Spain’s U-20 coach, a day prior to the match, had nothing but words of admiration and respect for Mexico’s U-20. He went on to conclude that the draw was that of another round, not a round of 16.


While Sergio Almaguer, Mexico’s U-20 coach, emphasized that his players were on the rise, and that his team wanted a win against the Spanish national team. La Rojita played the round of 16 match as the only team to finish with a perfect three out of three, nine points.


Suso, Liverpool’s midfielder, came on the pitch in the 51st minute for Israel Puerto, a central defender. Lopetegui moved Saul to Puerto’s spot, it took about 14 minutes for Suso to influence the match.


But before Suso’s intervention, Mexico played its best football during the tournament. The runs and the passes were on target, but Mexico lacked mental capacity to make the dominance read on the score. The score had a Mexico 1-0 advantage after an Arturo González volley, his face after the goal, demonstrated Mexico’s surprise, his team was up 1-0 against Spain.


Mexico had Spain on the ropes for 65 straight minutes. Jesé and Deulofeu lacked the spark that they showcased during the group stage. The only Spanish player to maintain the same demeanor from the start to the end was Atlético de Madrid’s Oliver Torres. He gave a lesson of not losing ground as Mexico went up to attack and missed one opportunity after another. Some Mexico chances hit the crossbar, others were Daniel Sotres’ stops, but some were poor play readings (i.e., a shot on goal instead of giving a pass to an open teammate)