The best finals of the FIFA U17 World Cup are not many to be seen in the history of the tournament.
The U17 World Cup 2023 has reached the final, with France getting set to meet Germany in the showpiece.
Throughout the history of the U17 World Cup, only a few finals deserved to be called the best ones. The balance between the two finalists, the final score, and how the game went would be the deciding factors in determining which finals are regarded as the best. Here are the top five notable finals in the U17 World Cup.
Brazil vs Ghana in 1997
The final in the 1997 edition was the stage for Ronaldinho. Cairo witnessed how the former Brazilian star in the 2000s played a key role in a narrow 2-1 win over Ghana, the defending champions. Both teams traded chances, but it was the African side that opened the scoring through Owusu Afriye in the first half.
Brazil had to wait until three minutes pass the hour to find the equalizer, as Ronaldinho’s shot was denied by Ghana’s goalkeeper, but the deflected ball fell on Matuzalem at the goal mouth, and he smashed it into the back of the net. The winning goal came in the 87th minute. This time, the teenage Ronaldinho provided an assist for Andrey, who shot from close range.
It was the young Seleção’s first title in the competition, as well as their sweet revenge against the young Black Stars. They defeated the South American giant in the previous edition in Ecuador.
Brazil vs Mexico in 2019
Brazil had to take the same path of glory as the 1997 squad while hosting the tournament in 2019. In the final against Mexico, Guilherme Dalla Dea’s men came back from behind again, but this time with a more dramatic win than Ronaldinho and co. They only managed to level the scoresheet in the 84th minute after a penalty.
Current Juventus man Kaio Jorge scored the equalizer after El Sombrero took an early lead in the 66th minute through Bryan Gonzales. When the game was heading to extra time, Lazaro volleyed the ball into the far left side of Mexico’s goal in the 93 minutes, taking advantage of Yan Couto’s cross from the right flank. The current Almeria man celebrated the goal as Brazil lifted their fourth trophy.
Ghana vs Brazil in 1995
Back in 1995 in Ecuador, the young Black Stars snatched their second title in their third consecutive final. They defeated Brazil 3-2 in a thrilling encounter. Baba Sule netted an opener after taking advantage of Julio Cesar’s blunder in the 39th minute. A few seconds before the interval, Abu Idrissu doubled their lead through a long-range shot.
In the second half, former AS Roma man Juan scored a lifeline with a header after a rumble in the box. Yet, Emanuel Bentil’s goal two minutes later restored Ghana’s two-goal advantage. Marco Antonio’s goal in injury time was merely a consolation one. Brazil could not stop Christian Gyan and Co’s party in the Estadio Monumental Banco Pichicha, Guayaquil.
England vs Spain in 2017
The final in India in 2017 was the most entertaining one so far. At the time, England came back from a two-goal deficit to thrash Spain. At first, La Rojalita quickly took the lead with Sergio Gomez’s brace before Rhian Brewster headed home one minute before the break. In the second half, Steve Cooper’s men ran rampant, scoring four more goals from Morgan Gibbs White, Marc Guehi, and Phil Foden. The current Manchester City attacking midfielder bagged a brace, which earned him the Golden Ball at the end of the game.
Saudi Arabia vs Scotland in 1989
The best final of all is definitely the 1989 edition, when Scotland faced off against Saudi Arabia. Craig Brown’s side was the favourite as well as the host. The Tartan Army did start well by scoring twice before the interval. Former Manchester City man Paul Dickov was the key man, as he provided an assist for Ian Downie’s header before he himself scored the second goal.
However, the table was turning in the second half as Saudi Arabia came from behind with goals from Sulaeman Al Reshoudi and Waleed El Terair. Scotland had a chance to be ahead, but Brian O’Neil’s penalty was denied by Mohammed Al-Deayea. Unfortunately for them, things did not get better on penalties. Dickov missed his shot, while O’Neil once again failed in the shootout.
It was meant to be a historic win for Asia and the Green Falcon. Yet, their victory was never considered a miracle due to the allegation of fielding overage players in the tournament. Such was never proven or investigated further by FIFA.