The final day of the Boys’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament Nanjing 2014 has arrived, and two-eagerly awaited matches will decide whose dreams become reality and whose hopes are finally extinguished.
This encounter will be contested by two surprise packages who have impressed the crowds with a series of strong performances at this tournament so far, and both will now be looking to travel home with a bronze medal in their bags. The young Icelandics stopped just short of causing a sensation in the semi-final, where they brought the strong favourites from Korea Republic to the brink of defeat. Cape Verde Islands also kept their hopes of a final appearance alive for a long period before being overcome by a strong Peruvian side. By making it to the last four in their first appearances at the finals of a FIFA tournament, both teams have already made history irrespective of the result of this match.
The young Koreans have a chance to be crowned champions in Nanjing for the second year in succession, having won the gold medal at the Asian Youth Games in the same city in 2013. Five players from that triumphant campaign are in the current squad and will be hoping to repeat last year’s success. After two resounding wins in the group stages, the Asian side had to dig deep against Iceland in the semi-final and only progressed thanks to a formidable penalty shoot-out performance from goalkeeper Kim Seungha.
Peru will be another tough nut to crack. The reigning U-15 South American champions have improved steadily throughout this tournament and will go into the final with great confidence. “They [Korea Republic] are a strong team,” Peru coach Juan Jose Ore told FIFA.com. “It’ll be a tough task for us, but we’ve shown that we can beat any opponent.”
45 – 45 goals have already been scored in the nine matches played so far at the Boys’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament in Nanjing, taking the tally for this year’s competition past the previous record of 44 goals in 11 games set four years ago in Singapore before the final matches have even been played.
The player to watch
Kim Gyuhyeong (KOR)
Kim Gyuhyeong has been crucial to South Korean success at this tournament so far. The fleet-footed midfielder has already found the net five times and is currently the leading goalscorer at this Boys’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament. Another strike in the final would not only boost his team’s hopes of securing the gold medal but would also allow him to equal the previous record of six goals set by Bolivia’s Rodrigo Mejido at Singapore 2010.
Did you know?
In 2007, Peru coach Juan Jose Ore masterminded a 1-0 victory over the hosts in the group stages of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea.