The U20 World Cup came to a conclusion this past weekend. Some exciting action ended with Serbia winning in extra time for the 4th consecutive match, just about beating hot favourites Brazil. The tournament saw the emergence of many promising youngsters who look set to take center stage in the years to come. Here is our team of the tournament:
Predrag Rajkovic | Serbia | Red Star Belgrade | 19 | Goalkeeper
An absolutely domineering goalkeeping performance all-round (9 saves in the final, solely) capped off with a title win is definitely the way for Predrag Rajkovic to kick start his career. Tall and commanding, conceding only 4 goals in 7 games (3 of which went to extra time) in the process – he had the confidence of his teammates as a more than reliable option in goal. Not afraid to use his feet and get past a man too, Rajkovic’s solitary weakness is anticipating shots from afar.
Joao Pedro | Brazil | Palmerias | 18 | Right-Back
Mr. Reliable for Brazil. he provided consistent performances all the way until the final, positioning himself well most of the time – specifically to nullify Senegal’s wingers in the semi-final. Capable of linking up with players inside and positioning himself as a central midfielder in the right half-space rather than acting as an outright winger, he provided different dimensions to what was already a versatile Brazilian team.
Cameron Carters-Vickers | USA | Tottenham Hotspur | 17 | Centre-Back
A very proactive defender who helped the USA reach the quarter finals, keeping a clean sheet in the game and doing extremely well with his partner Miazga. The USA lost the only game his partner missed 3-0 to Ukraine and the defence looked a shambles as Carters-Vickers’ defensive movements weren’t complemented by his partner, who excelled at supporting him. Positionally astute, brilliant at interceptions and a very fast defender – Tottenham and the USA have a gem on their hands.
Milos Veljkovic | Serbia | Tottenham Hotspur | 19 | Centre-Back
Milos Veljkovic is simply the heart of the Serbian defence and completely outclassed all attackers who came up against him. Veljkovic is a master in the air, defending anything incoming with ease. He is also very calm on the ball and possesses an elegant first touch, usually the reliable option once a full back or midfielder is pressed from different areas.
Jorge | Brazil | Flamengo | 19 | Left-Back
Jorge is a proactive and marauding wing back on the left hand side for Brazil, also impressing with combination play and his ability to take men on. His glaring weakness is that his proactivity often sees him sticking to an opponent – occasionally halting the man from turning – and hence leaving himself vulnerable to passes in behind. Jorge is also quite aggressive in the tackle, but his creative ability from the left hand side overshadows that.
Danilo | Brazil | Sporting Braga | 19 | Central midfielder
Danilo won the Silver Ball in this tournament and it’s hard to argue against such a complete midfielder with both guile and tactical awareness. The midfielder playing for Braga is not the tallest or the strongest but he is a great example of a modern-day defensive midfielder. His awareness of space is second to none at his age and his passing ability for someone whose game is based on interceptions and marking is invaluable. Danilo’s normal role would class him as limited on the ball however he is capable of taking men on and using his skills to get past them. His move to Europe is definitely a good start and at only 19 years old, the future is bright.
Emerson Hyndman | USA | Fulham | 19 | Central midfielder
Dubbed the “American Andrea Pirlo”, it’s clear to see where the comparisons come from. Unlike Danilo, Hyndman is calm, elegant and prefers qualitative passing over the quantitative side of the game. Occasionally making late runs into the box, it is clear to see why Hyndman is USA’s U-20 captain.
Andrija Zivkovic | Serbia | Partizan Belgrade | 18 | Right winger
Touted as Serbia’s next star, or Partizan’s next big sale, Andrija Zivkovic failed to disappoint. Cutting inside onto his left foot from the right hand side, also taking advantage of any loose ball, he proved himself as a very tough player to deal with. A very creative player with a knack for a goal is a brief description of him, with his mesmeric technical ability also allowing him to take superb free-kicks. His powerful shooting is an invaluable asset too.
Boschilia | Brazil | Sao Paulo | 19 | Central attacking midfielder
A player excelling through his dazzling skill on the ball and nimble running, it’s not a surprise to see him impressing once again at a youth World Cup. The focal point in attacking midfield, he was the catalyst to many different chances and goals as his movement permitted him to thwart oppositions’ defensive lines. Boschilia was also adept at marking his opposing central midfielder, stopping any chance to play out from the back. His stamina is in question after generally being the first one Rogerio Micale decided to take off.
Adama Traore | Mali | Lille | 19 | Left winger
Adama Traore won the Golden Ball in this tournament and although not completely deserved, he was a superb player across the tournament and a complete menace in attack for Mali; key to them achieving a very respectable 3rd place spot. An out of this world brace in the 3rd place play-off match capped it off as he showed his ability to take set pieces, use both feet and dominate with his daunting skill set.
Viktor Kovalenko | Ukraine | Shakhtar Donetsk | 19 | Striker
The Shakhtar Donetsk product was eliminated early from the tournament with Ukraine on penalties to Mali however he was superb, with statistics showing that he scored 5 and assisted 2 thus confirming his Golden Boot win over Bence Mervo, who also scored 5. Kovalenko showed his set-piece prowess and his knack of scoring striker’s goals with his movement into the box timed perfectly. A very fast player, there is no doubt that Shakhtar Donetsk have something to cheer about in the coming years.
For more reading on the U20 World Cup, head this way.
Written by Hamoudi Fayad
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