Having propelled the young Taeguk Warriors to footballing gold at last year’s Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, Korean striker Lee Jiyong and midfielder Jeong Wooyeong were given star billing on their return to the ancient Chinese metropolis. The attack-minded duo duly lived up to expectations by plundering three goals apiece, but their thunder was stolen by rookie team-mate Kim Gyuhyeong on his first trip to the city, the Ulsan Hyundai midfielder finding the net five times and creating three assists.
Peru oozed star quality in every department, although Franklin Gil’s equaliser in the final against Korea Republic earned lavish praise from Inca coach Juan Jose Ore, who hopes that the striker will go on to become the beating heart of the team. Although Honduras only collected one victory, Catracho centre-forward Paolo Belloni showed glimpses of the potential that earned him a dream move to Italian club Genoa.
Nordic outsiders Iceland burst onto the scene ??in style, defying most pundits’ pre-tournament predictions by clinching the bronze medal in their first FIFA competition. In particular, hat-trick hero Gudjonsson became the darling of fans and media with his virtuoso performance in the opener against Honduras. African dark horses Cape Verde Islands also punched above their weight for a nation of just 500,000 people, bouncing back from a 5-0 loss to Korea Republic by routing Vanuatu 7-1. Ricardo,RS Gold, who showed well in the back line and as a winder bagged a treble in that victory, while jet-heeled forward Andradino also struck twice.
Vanuatu were unable to emulate their fifth-place finish of four years ago, slipping to the bottom of the pile and conceding 21 goals compared with four last time round. However, the Oceanian minnows’ indomitable spirit was rewarded against Cape Verde Islands, when Lauren Saurei struck their only goal of the campaign.