Soccer News of Monday, 9 July 2001
Argentina were crowned world under-20 football champions for a record fourth time here Sunday when they beat Ghana 3-0 in the final.
The Argentines, whose great rivals Brazil have won it three times, scored through Diego Colotto's 6th minute volley, star striker and Barcelona-bound Javier Saviola added a second for his 11th of the tournament - which is an alltime record - in the 14th minute to lead 2-0 at halftime.
Max Rodriguez shot home for his fourth of the campaign in the 73rd minute.
Ghana, who lost in their other appearance in the final to Brazil in 1993, missed a late penalty when Abdul Ibrahim shot wide of the post.
A tearful Argentinian coach Jose Pekerman paid fulsome tribute to his players afterwards.
"They played quite brilliant football not just today but throughout the tournament," he said.
"It's difficult sometimes to play in front of your home fans because there is extra pressure but these young men were more than able to stand up and be counted when it mattered.
"This is a really great win achieved with wonderful football and as talented a squad as one could wish to coach," he added.
However, the Africans were never able to settle once Colotto had volleyed home past Ghanaian 'keeper Maxwell Banahene.
The Argentines pressed home their advantage and playmaker and one of their players of the tournament Andres D'Allessandro set Saviola - nicknamed "El conejo" (the rabbit) because of his protruding teeth - up for the second.
D'Alessandro's perfectly weighted cross from the right was headed into the far corner of the net by his skipper and former River Plate team-mate to confirm Saviola's status as player of the tournament.
Some desperate last ditch defending kept the score to 2-0 but Rodriguez, who plays for Newells Old Boys, ensured the scoreline reflected the gap in class on the night when he latched onto D'Alessandro's lob over the defence to rattle it past Banahene.
Ghana looked to have the chance of a consolation when the referee awarded them a penalty after Nicolas Medina tripped John Paintsill in the area.
However, Ibrahim's faltering run-up to take the kick suggested it was not to be and so it proved as his shot drifted wide of the right hand post - though he got a consoling pat on the head from Spanish referee Manuel Gonzalez.
Earlier Egypt had beaten Paraguay 1-0 in the third place playoff to give Africa one of their best showings in the tournament.
Ghana - 1-Maxwell Banahene; 2-Sulley Muntari, 5-Patrick Villars, 14-John Mensah, 6-Emmanuel Papoe; 8-Adbul Ibrahim, 4-Michael Essien, 10-Derek Boateng, 15-John Pantsil; 9-Razak Pimpong (11-Frank Osei 75), 16-Kwaku Duah (7-Samuel Thompson, 68)
Third-place play-off result:
Paraguay 0 Egypt 1
Scorer: Mohamed El Yamany 64