ISTANBUL: France defeated Uruguay 4-1 in a penalty shootout to win their first U20s World Cup title after a fiercely-contested final ended 0-0 after extra-time.
Dimitri Foulquier scored the decisive fourth spot kick in front of a sparse crowd, beating Uruguay keeper Guillermo de Amores to seal victory for France who beat Turkey, Uzbekistan and Ghana on the way to the final.
Earlier, Ghana eased past Iraq 3-0 in the third-place playoff.
The competition was a test of Turkey’s ability to hold a major sporting event ahead of the September decision on the city that will host the 2020 Olympics.
Istanbul is one of three contenders for the Games along with Madrid and Tokyo.
Jim Boyce, chairman of the U20s World Cup organising committee for football’s ruling body Fifa, said he was disappointed by the small crowds at the tournament.
“We’ve seen some fantastic games. There’s been some really exciting football, last-minute goals, penalty shootouts,” he told a news conference.
“We are obviously disappointed with the attendance at the games. I know how passionate the people in Turkey are about football but for some reason we did not get the anticipated number of fans we would have hoped.”
Ahead of the final day the overall attendance was 261,509, or around 5,000 a game, around 1/5th of the total at the previous edition in Colombia two years ago.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2013.
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