Argentina flourish in final

Argentina 2 Uruguay 1
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The Independent Online
If Yesterday's World Youth Cup final had masqueraded as a World Cup Final itself, no one in the futuristic Shah Alam Stadium here would have objected.

The standard set by the young South American Machitos was impressively high, not least in terms of the football but refreshingly for a match involving Argentina - who successfully retained the Fifa Coca-Cola Cup - also when it came to sportsmanship. Seldom can Argentina have captured a trophy without having a player sent off along the way or sanctioned for some tacky misdemeanour. Indeed, like Uruguay, they only had one player booked in the final.

If Daniel Passerella failed by a distance to discipline his senior side, the same cannot be said of Jose Nestor Pekerman, the coach who also has the knack of deflating any outsize egos. So it was yesterday that he began without Pablo Aimar, his team's most celebrated player who came on only when the champions were heading inexorably towards their victory.

The start had not, however, gone according to Argentina's plan. They fell behind to Pablo Garcia's 15th-minute free-kick and although Uruguay might not have sensed it, two misses soon after were to cost them. First Nicolas Olivera scraped the bar, then Zalayet side-footed into Leonardo Franco's body.

Uruguay were buzzing now but gradually Argentina forced their way back into an enthralling game. At 16 years old, Real Madrid's Esteban Cambiasso was by far the youngest player on the pitch but that did not prevent him from soaring highest to head in Diego Quintana's corner. Quintana, having made the equaliser, then side-footed home the winner from Lionel Scaloni's low cross but he was not to last the match. Any chance of the little winger getting too big for his tiny boots was removed by Pekerman substituting him in the second half.

Content now to let Uruguay come at them, Argentina held out with much help from Leonardo Cufre's diligent sweeping and Franco's safe goalkeeping. At full stretch, he repelled their best efforts from Alejandro Melono and Olivera.

Argentina: Franco; Cufre, Serrizuela, Cubero, Samuel, Placante, Scaloni (Rodriguez, 83), Cambiasso, Riquelme, Quintana (Aimar, 54), Romeo (Perezlando, 75).

Uruguay: Munua; Rivas, Diaz, Perea, Pellegrin (Reguero, 78), Melono (Cartagena, 67), Callejas (Lopez, 55), Garcia, Coelho, Zalayeta, Olivera.

Referee: S Mane (Kuwait).