The list even includes a 16-year-old talent from the Nigerian national team.
And so, the U-20 World Cup has ended, with Uruguay winning the tournament. These types of competitions allow young players to showcase their talents before moving on to top clubs or, if they are already there, earn more playing time. So, who stood out in the recent tournament?
Cesare Casadei - 20 years old, Italy national team
This guy made an impressive impact by becoming only the sixth player in U-20 World Cup history to win the "Golden Boot" and the "Golden Ball" simultaneously. The midfielder scored an impressive 7 goals and provided 2 assists, doing everything he could to lead the Italian national team to the final!
In addition to his goals, Cesare fulfills the typical role of a midfielder, playing as a classic number 6 or box-to-box midfielder. He is tall, enduring, and unafraid of physical battles and effectively utilizes his physical presence. Cazadei doesn't hide that his physical attributes are his main asset. In an interview, he mentioned that he models himself after Nicola Barella. He belongs to Chelsea (playing for their youth team), and all doors are now open for his development. He is already valued at €12 million!
Tommaso Baldanzi - 20 years old, Italy national team
The playmaker had an impressive World Cup, tearing through opponents alongside Cesare. They have a great connection and can effortlessly find each other in the penalty area. For example, they scored the first two goals against Colombia almost automatically, and in the second half, the crossbar prevented them from securing the third goal.
Another critical partner for Tommaso is Simone Pafundi, who is equally tiny, agile, technically skilled, and inclined towards attacking play. Together, they particularly shone in the tournament's first match against Brazil, picking up the ball deep and leading the team forward, creating scoring opportunities.
Baldanzi connects the lines, bypasses opponents with dribbling, and when the opportunity arises, he moves towards the right flank, mainly creating danger. Rumors of interest from top Italian clubs in the Empoli player have been circulating for about a year - they should take him after such a World Cup performance.
Alan Matturro - 18 years old, Uruguay national team
The winner of the "Silver Ball" at the tournament. A crazy defender - he manages to run both in the center and attack! His frequent involvement on the left flank proved dangerous and sometimes led to goals, like in the match against Israel in the semifinals. He was also reliable in the final, partly thanks to the equally impressive Sebastian Boselli - an impassable central defender. Uruguay kept six clean sheets out of seven matches thanks to this duo.
Daniel Daga - 16 years old, Nigeria national team
The most unexpected discovery of this World Cup. He is a teenager who is only 16 years old, but he made an impact! He is a highly tenacious midfielder who achieved a historic victory against Argentina - it was he who repelled all the attacks of the star-studded opponent: clearing the ball from the penalty area, running across the entire width of the field, and seizing every opportunity to win the ball back. It is especially pleasing that such a young player constantly encouraged his older teammates. And, of course, he enjoyed playing!
Daniel plays for an underdog team in the Nigerian championship, but his life will change significantly after the World Cup.
Diego Luna - 19 years old, USA national team
An important player for the American team. In the tournament, he played as a "false nine," contributed with 1 goal and 3 assists, and reached the quarterfinals. Despite his height, he possesses good speed and agility and penetrates through the defense, creating dangerous situations.
The most outstanding match was against New Zealand in the round of 16: he came on as a substitute, provided two assists, and completely controlled the attacking actions. He dropped back to the central midfielders, received the ball, and initiated flank attacks. The USA's formation helped with this: left winger Kade Caldwell occupied Luna's position, and then winger Caleb Wiley replaced Caldwell - allowing Diego to play a positive role and advance the ball forward.
Luna had trials with Anderlecht and played for the American academy "Barca," but he is currently developing in Real Salt Lake - making appearances in the MLS. His prospects should grow after this tournament.
Oscar Cortes - 19 years old, Colombia national team
He scored 4 goals and made 2 assists in the tournament. He is a winger who sharpened his passes in the final third. A versatile player who can play as a forward, a false nine, and even on the right. He has a good sense of timing and executes feints at the right moment. But his crucial quality is his sharp passes: he always sees the zone and his teammate.
Currently playing for the Colombian club "Millonarios," he has already scored 6 goals and provided 3 assists in 17 matches this season, which is an excellent result for a winger. Oscar is destined for a promotion very soon.
Maximo Perone - 20 years old, Argentina national team
He is already a star midfielder for Argentina - he was signed by Manchester City for €9 million in the winter. A true playmaker and the one from whom the attacks begin.
His key strength is his passing ability. Maximo was unmatched in creating opportunities for his team - he distributed passes everywhere on the field. Sometimes he even dropped back to the central defensive position to initiate attacks with vertical passes. He also displayed creativity in the final stage - there was even a match where he provided five key passes.
Fabricio Diaz - 20 years old, Uruguay national team
A leader! In the final, Fabrizio led the team mentally and on the field: he supported his teammates, initiated attacks with the first pass, often accelerated the play as the second tempo, and once even intercepted the ball from a distance and hit the crossbar. He is a versatile player who is unafraid to engage in duels. He plays for Liverpool from Montevideo.
Sebastiano Deplansh - 20 years old, Italy national team
The winner of the tournament's "Golden Glove." The award should have gone to Randal Rodriguez, the goalkeeper of the Uruguay national team, for his six clean sheets. However, in the case of the South American goalkeeper, this result was mainly due to reliable central defenders. On the other hand, Sebastiano carried Italy and Colombia, especially in the final. He made an incredible save from a corner kick, keeping his team in the game, and towards the end of the match, he saved the team after facing a five-on-one situation! Additionally, he has excellent footwork and often acts as an extra central defender, playing short passes to relieve pressure.
By the way, Sebastiano is a product of Milan's academy, but he plays for Trento, a club in Serie C. Is it time for him to rise to the top?
Valentin Barko - 18 years old, Argentina national team
A very attacking left-back. He covers the entire flank and puts a lot of pressure on the opponent's defense with his runs into the final third. He delivers sharp shots and crosses into the penalty area. In the match against Uzbekistan, he provided an assist, the only one in the tournament.
Barko is more than just an essential attacking option. He always makes quick decisions to help the team in transitional phases. He plays with one or two-touch passes. At the same time, he can clean up in defense: he actively engages in duels and wins them, despite not having the best physical attributes (172 cm).
Barko plays for Boca Juniors, but according to reports from Tuttosport, after a successful World Cup, he may move to Juventus - the Turin club is ready to pay the transfer fee.