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FIFA U-20 World Cup

Lee, Lunin headline award winners at Poland 2019

(FIFA.com)
Kangin Lee of Korea Republic poses with his Adidas Golden Ball Award and Andriy Lunin of Ukraine poses with his Adidas Golden Glove Award
© Getty Images
  • Lee Kangin (KOR) wins adidas Golden Ball
  • Erling Haland (NOR) nets adidas Golden Boot
  • Andriy Lunin (UKR) awarded adidas Golden Glove

The 52nd and final match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 brought the tournament to an end on Saturday 15 June. The event reached its climax in a gripping final in which Ukraine lifted the trophy for the first time ever in this age category.

Although football is a team sport, several young players performed exceptionally well in Poland and received recognition for their efforts.

Lee Kangin from beaten finalists Korea Republic became just the second Asian player after Ismail Matar (United Arab Emirates, 2013) to win the adidas Golden Ball, joining the likes of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi (both Argentina) as well as Paul Pogba (France) in receiving the honour.

Norway's Erling Haland finished as top scorer, while tournament winner Andriy Lunin was named best goalkeeper and Japan took home the FIFA Fair Play Award, as decided by the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG).

adidas Golden Ball

Lee Kangin (Korea Republic)

The youngest player in the Korea Republic squad turned heads thanks to his composure on the ball. The 18-year-old dictated the rhythm of the game, always capable of playing the decisive pass in the final third. Lee, who was called up to Korea's senior squad for the first time in March 2019, may have only scored twice in Poland – in the quarter-finals against Senegal and in the final – but he finished as the joint-best assist provider with four, alongside Norway's Jens Hauge.

© Getty Images

adidas Silver Ball

Serhii Buletsa (Ukraine)

"He's an outstanding footballer," said Ukraine coach Oleksandr Petrakov of his team's playmaker after their semi-final victory over Italy. His words were all the more striking given how rarely Petrakov singles out individual players for praise. Precise passes and smooth skills are Buletsa's trademarks. He was also the team's dead-ball specialist, racking up goals and assists throughout the group stage and knockout rounds.

adidas Bronze Ball

Gonzalo Plata (Ecuador)

A bronze medal with Ecuador and now another for attacking midfielder Gonzalo Plata, whose pace, technique and determination left quite an impression in Poland. The 18-year-old constantly put opposing defenders under pressure. Plata scored the winning goal against Mexico to fire El Tricolor into the Round of 16, where he was also on the scoresheet to seal a 3-1 victory over Uruguay.

© Getty Images

adidas Golden Boot

Erling Haland (Norway) – 9 goals, 0 assists, 3 games

Erling Haland is unlikely to forget the date 30 May 2019, having scored nine goals in Norway's 12-0 thrashing of Honduras. Nevertheless, the striker, who will join Red Bull Salzburg this summer, still had to pack for home alongside his team-mates after the group stage. Haland's nine-goal haul leaves him third on the list of the competition's all-time top scorers, behind Argentina's Javier Saviola in 2001 (11) and Brazil's Adailton in 1997 (10).

© Getty Images

adidas Silver Boot

Danylo Sikan (Ukraine) – 4 goals, 0 assists, 6 games

Sikan improved as the tournament progressed and exploded onto the scene at the start of the knockout phase. The Ukrainian forward scored a brace against Panama in the last 16 and then grabbed the only goal of the game against Colombia in the quarter-finals.

© Getty Images

adidas Bronze Boot

Amadou Sagna (Senegal) – 4 goals, 0 assists, 4 games

The African forward is another whose name went into the record books in Poland. His goal after just 9.6 seconds against Tahiti was the fastest ever to be scored at a U-20 World Cup. Sagna went on to complete his hat-trick in that match and grabbed another in the 2-1 triumph over Nigeria in the last 16, before Senegal were eliminated by Korea Republic on penalties in the quarter-finals.

© Getty Images

adidas Golden Glove

Andriy Lunin (Ukraine)

Lunin's ability to organise his defence and make impressive saves – as he did in the game against Qatar – means his part in Ukraine's triumph cannot be overstated. The 19-year-old is now a frequent call-up to Ukraine's senior squad and made his debut in March 2018. In fact, he missed the 1-0 quarter-final success over Colombia because he was at European Championship qualifying games against Serbia (5-0) and Luxembourg (1-0). Lunin returned to the U-20 World Cup in time to take his place in the side for the semi-finals, and he made several key interventions in the final against Korea Republic to help his side lift the trophy.

© Getty Images

FIFA Fair Play Award

Japan

The Samurai Blue only received seven yellow cards across their four games and committed an average of less than 16 fouls per match, making coach Masanaga Kageyama's side worthy winners of the FIFA Fair Play Award. In addition to the trophy, medals and a certificate, the country's football association also received a cheque for $10,000 USD that is to be exclusively put towards football equipment at youth level.

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