To close out the year, we wanted to take a look at what happened in the Minifootball world in 2021. After reviewing the Women’s World Cup previously, it’s time to look at the U23 World Cup.
The WMF U23 World Cup kicked off with Colombia dominating their match against India, scoring 17 goals to start the day. In the second match, the Czech Republic narrowly edged out Georgia in a hard-fought match, securing a 3-1 win late. In the next match, Egypt earned an early three-goal lead against Slovakia, but a strong second half performance saw Slovakia draw even before fulltime. The host country, Ukraine, played the final match of the day against Moldova. While there was plenty of optimism to start, Moldova fought for a 3-1 victory to spoil the opening day of the tournament for the hosts.
After dominating their opening match, Colombia was in for a tougher test on their second day against Georgia. In a much closer matchup, Colombia was still able to earn a 5-3 victory. Slovakia and Moldova played the second match of the day, but neither team was unable to get on the scoresheet, and the match ended in a 0-0 draw. After that defensive battle, the Czech Republic provided some more offensive firepower in their match against India, scoring early and often on their way to a 14-0 win. Finally, Ukraine took on Egypt looking for their first win of the tournament and narrowly edged out a 3-2 win to get their first points of the tournament.
The third day of the tournament provided another tough result for India, as they were on a losing side of a 7-0 match against Georgia. The result was the third consecutive loss for India. In the next match, Ukraine and Slovakia battled the entire match but again, neither team was able to score a goal. It was the second consecutive 0-0 draw for Slovakia in the tournament. The next match was just as tightly contested, with Egypt and Moldova battling to a 2-1 score, with Egypt earning the slight edge on the scoreboard. The final match of the day was between the Czech Republic and Colombia, and both sides were able to find the back of the net with ease. After Colombia pulled ahead to a 5-2 lead, the Czech Republic battled back and tied the game with a goal in the final seconds to earn a 5-5 draw.
Colombia and Egypt took the pitch in the first semi-final match of the day. Egypt scored early on, but both teams battled throughout the remainder of the match and nothing could be settled within regulation time. It took a penalty shootout to decide a winner, and Colombia narrowly edged out Egypt to earn their spot in the final. The second semi-final was also tightly contested, with very little separating these two teams on the pitch. It wasn’t until a late goal gave the Czech Republic a 3-2 win and a spot in the final. In the third-place match, Egypt took a 2-0 lead into the second half, but Moldova responded with 3 unanswered goals to take third place in the tournament. Finally, it was time for the final. The Czech Republic and Colombia squared off for the top spot in the tournament. The first half saw Colombia take a narrow 2-1 lead into the break, but they came out strong in the second half, adding to their lead and walking away with a 4-1 victory and the right to call themselves champions.