Once again African futbolistas clinched their rise to dominance on the world soccer scene, as Nigeria beat Spain 3-0 on penalty kicks in the finals of the FIFA U-17 Korea 2007 World Cup. It was a hard-fought game, head to head, with close calls and opportunities lost during 120 scoreless minutes...and two spectacular airborne saves by keeper Oladele Ajiboye.
Nigeria won the very first U-17 World Cup back in 1985; today is the third time that the Golden Eaglets have done it. The next World Cup event will be played is Nigeria itself.
Ghana beat Germany 2-1 for third place. This is only the second time that Europeans have stood on the podium in the U-17 finals. The commentators had praise for the level of play by these young players, some of whom we'll probably see in the next FIFA World Cup.
Meanwhile the U.S. continues to struggle farther down the ladder, as they lost to Germany 2-1 in the round of 16. But we're still trying grimly. This week our Under-17 Residency Program gets under way, with more than 40 players training in Florida.
Next up -- the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, starting tomorrow. Actually, it's already Monday in Shanghai, so watch for more reports shortly. -- Patricia Nell Warren