July 23, 2007
The good, bad and the uglyLooking back on the Under-20s
By MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media
As the victorious Argentines made their way to the team bus last night, they were stopped in their tracks at the sight of one of their more fetching fans.
Hoisted on the shoulders of one of the hundreds of singing supporters gathered just outside the security fence, the attractive lass in the wafer-thin bikini waved goodbye to her ogling heroes, who had just posted a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the under-20 World Cup final.
If there was a better way to close out what was, for the most part, a very successful three weeks, please let the Argentines know.
They, of course, weren't the only ones who were smiling. In their wildest dreams, organizers never would have predicted that the event would set an under-20 World Cup attendance record of more than 1.1 million fans.
Looking back, the one wart on the proceedings remains the fracas between Chilean players and local police Thursday, one that will have politicians both here and in Chile rehashing for months.
In an effort to summarize the good, the bad and the ugly of U-20 2007, we have come up with a handful of unofficial awards in these categories:
To Nigerian coach Ladan Bosso, who claimed racism influenced a referee's decision during his team's quarter-final loss to Chile. Bosso's comments came during the same weekend that FIFA was promoting its anti-racism campaign.
No wonder they are investigating him.
Sadly, we're afraid the clash between Chilean players and the cops will be in the headlines for weeks to come.
To the reporter who yesterday referred to the Austrian team as "Australia."
The ink-stained wretch made the statement while sitting directly in front of the Austrian coach, who was wearing a T-shirt that said: "I am from Austria." Oops.
FIFA LOGO CAMPAIGN
We suggest showing a guy writhing in pain on the ground. Faking, of course. Lord knows we saw enough of these teenagers acting as if they had been shot whenever they brushed against an opponent, in order to encourage the ref to pull out the yellow card. These kids learn bad habits early, don't they?
Obviously there are some potential Oscar winners here. Here's some advice to the suits at FIFA: Punish diving!
To the dazzling Argentine pair of Sergio Aguero and Maximiliano Moralez, who toyed with lesser skilled opponents the way a cat does with a mouse.
Look for these two to be prominent on the Argentine national men's team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
To Team Canada. We don't want to be too critical of these kids, but let's not sugercoat things here.
You are playing on home soil, you have great fan support, and you can't score a single goal in three games? Ugh!
To all the South American fans whose chants, songs and drum beating turned any game into a festive event.
Any way we can get these people into the platinum seats for Maple Leafs games instead of the stuffed shirts who normally sit there?
PAT ON THE BACK
To the fans throughout Canada who smashed tournament attendance records. Not bad for an alleged "non-soccer" country.
Honourable mention goes to tournament organizers who, Chile-gate aside, saw things go smoothly.
THE CURTAIN CALL
To Argentina. This time the best team did win.