Abu Dhabi: Nigeria won the 15th Fifa Under-17 World Cup in style on Friday night, trouncing defending champions Mexico 3-0 at Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium to win the title for a record fourth time.
Nigeria surpassed Brazil’s record of lifting the trophy three times and also became the highest scoring team in the tournament history with their 26 goals in seven matches. This broke Germany’s record of 24 in 2011.
The Nigerians took only nine minutes to take the lead when Mexico defender Erick Aguirre put the ball into his own net when attempting to clear the ball from Musa Yahaya.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s only serious effort on goal in the first half was a header from captain Ulises Jaimes, which was saved brilliantly by Nigeria goalkeeper Dele Alampasu.
For Nigeria, Yahaya should have added another goal in the 40th minute, but his fierce shot hit the bar as the first half ended with the Nigerians leading 1-0.
The second period began with a frenzy of attacks at both ends of the pitch, but it was Nigeria who made theirs count, making it 2-0 in the 56th minute. Captain Mohammad Musa unleashed a wicked swirling shot that Mexican keeper Gudino simply couldn’t hang on to. He spilt a rebound directly to the feet of the most dangerous man on the pitch Kelechi Iheanacho, who made no mistake dispatching his sixth goal of the tournament.
With a quarter of an hour to go, Mexico managed to carve out a rare second-half chance, but Ivan Ochoa’s header from close range slipped wide of the post as the holders began to wilt under the ceaseless pressure of the buzzing Nigerians. Mohammad added a third with ten minutes to go, curling a sublime free kick into the top corner.
Fair play: Nigeria.
Top scorer: Valmir Berisha, Sweden, with seven goals.
Best Goalkeeper: Dele Alampasu, Nigeria.
Golden Ball Winner: Kelechi Iheanacho, Nigeria.
Silver Ball Winner: Nathan, Brazil.
Bronze Ball Winner: Ivan Ochoa, Mexico.
The 16th Fifa Under 17 World Cup will be held in 2015 in Chile.