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SPORTS | 12-06-2023 12:27

Uruguay prepares to welcome home its Under-20 World Cup champions

Uruguay crowned champions of FIFA U20 World Cup after defeating Italy 1-0 in Sunday's final at La Plata.

Uruguay on Monday prepared to welcome home their latest, and long-awaited, world champions, as the under-20 team headed home after winning their age-group World Cup in Argentina.

Luciano Rodríguez scored the winner in the 86th minute as Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in the Diego Maradona stadium in La Plata on Sunday night.

It was Uruguay's third appearance in the under-20 final after losing in 1997 to Argentina and on penalties in 2013 to France. 

Uruguay have won two senior World Cups and two men's Olympic football golds, but the last triumph was in 1950.

It was Italy's first final in a competition started in 1977 and dominated by South American teams. Argentina have won six times and Brazil five times.

As fans filled the Montevideo streets to celebrate, the Uruguayan Football Association said on Sunday that the winning squad would arrive Monday close to midday at Carrasco International Airport, from where a motorcade would take them on a tour of the capital.

In the final, Uruguay pressed from the start and created the best chances. Anderson Duarte forced a flying save from goalkeeper Sebastiano Desplanches from a first-half corner.

After a largely uneventful second half, Uruguay struck with four minutes to play when a corner caused chaos in the Italian goalmouth and the ball bounced up to Rodríguez, who nodded in at the far post.

Desplanches prevented a worse defeat in the dying seconds when, without a defender in sight and four Uruguayans bearing down on the penalty area the keeper saved at the feet of Franco González.

Chelsea midfielder Cesare Casadei won the golden boot with seven goals and was voted golden ball as the tournament's best player but struggled to make an impact in the final.

"Uruguay champion," tweeted Uruguay president Luis Lacalle Pou from the United States. "Congratulations to the players, coaching staff and all those who made this dream possible."  

Earlier in the day, Israel had achieved their best-ever result at a World Cup, beating South Korea 3-1 to take third place. 

World football's governing body FIFA moved the competition to Argentina in April, after removing Indonesia as host following local protests against Israel's participation.

Ran Binyamin opened the scoring in the 19th minute with an acrobatic volley.

Lee Seung-won equalised from the penalty spot five minutes later. 

Omer Senior restored the Israel lead after 76 minutes and Anan Khalaili finished the scoring with a close-range shot at the far post from an 85th-minute corner.

Israel upset Brazil in the quarter-finals but lost to Uruguay in the last four on Thursday.

 

 

– TIMES/AFP

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