Brazil 1 - 2 Serbia (after extra-time)

Serbia became the Under-20 World Cup Football champions in Auckland earlier today, beating Brazil 2-1 after extra-time. The South Americans had looked to be the firm favourites after convincingly beating Senegal in the last-four, but came up against determined opponents in the final. A dramatic late injury time winner from midfielder Nemanja Maksimovic sent the Serbian supporters into delirium, denying the Brazilians the title. It was the first time that the Serbians in their own right had been crowned as the Under-20 champions in their history, although Yugoslavia had formerly lifted the title back in 1987.

Proud heritage

Besides their ominous form during the tournament, Brazil also had a proud record of five previous World Cup successes at under-20 level to live up to. They started the better in the final, putting their rivals under pressure thanks to fine efforts from Jean Carlos and Gabriel Jesus that Serbian goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic was able to save.

Brazil possession

The South Americans bossed possession in front of a capacity 25,000 crowd, as the Serbians tried to deny them space and frustrate their attacking intentions, preferring the counter-attack themselves. It was the Serbs who almost took the lead though against the run of play, as Jean was forced into a smart save to deny Sergej Milinkovic's header.

Serbia ahead

Serbia's strategy seemed to be paying dividends when they did go in front on 70 minutes, Stanisa Mandic finishing smartly from a Maksimovic cross. Their advantage was wiped out three minutes later though, as Andreas Pereira came off the bench to score the equaliser. After a mazy dribble, the Manchester United midfielder found the composure to fire the ball into the corner of the net.

Into extra-time and the game looked set to go to penalties until Maksimovic stepped up in the 118th minute. Played in down the middle as Serbia broke, he kept his head when faced by the Brazilian keeper to score what proved to be the winning goal. Elation for Serbia, despair for Brazil.

Contrasting semi-finals

Both sides had defeated African opposition in the semi-finals.

Brazil had far too much firepower for Senegal as they crushed them 5-0. The match had been effectively over as a contest early on, after the South Americans had stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to an own goal and a strike from Marcos Guilherme. Further goals from Boschilia and Jorge added to the one-sided score-line before half-time, with the sending off of Elimane Cisse for a second yellow card compounding Senegal's woes. Guilherme scored his second goal of the game in the second-half as the Brazilians cruised into the final.

By way of contrast, Serbia were pushed all the way by Mali in their semi-final. The Serbians had seemed to be in command after Andrija Zivkovic netted after just 4 minutes.

A wonder goal from Youssouf Kone from 30 yards drew the Africans level, but they were relieved to see Milan Gajic's volley hit the woodwork as extra-time loomed.

Serbia proved to be the stronger side in the extra period as an Ivan Saponjic header ultimately proved decisive. Mali's hopes were all but ended when Kone received a second yellow card, reducing them to ten men by the end. It allowed the European side to claim a 2-1 victory.

Mali claim third place

Mali defeated Senegal 3-1 in the play-off for third and fourth place, their main hero being Adama Traore with two of their three goals after Mali had gone behind.