The Netherlands will be the most content, having overturned the result of May's UEFA European Under-17 Championship final by defeating Turkey 2-1 in the third-place play-off. For Italy, meanwhile, there was the disappointment of a first-round exit, although even Francesco Rocca's side could find reason for optimism in their performances in South America.
While the Netherlands enjoyed the most collective success, however, the individual accolades went Turkey's way. Nuri Sahin finished third behind Brazilian Anderson and FC Barcelona's Mexican striker Giovani Dos Santos in the poll for best player, having scored four goals in six matches. The BV Borussia Dortmund playmaker also featured prominently in the race to be the tournament's top scorer, won by Mexico's Carlos Vela with five strikes. Nuri's four goals and two assists placed him second, with Turkish team-mate Tevfik Köse, the leading scorer in the European Championship, taking third place.
Another Turkish talent, Caner Erkin, also contributed four goals to his side's campaign, as did AFC Ajax forward John Goossens for the Netherlands. Italy's top scorer was Atalanta BC striker Christian Tiboni with two goals from three matches, the same number as Jeffrey Sarpong and Deniz Yilmaz of the Netherlands and Turkey respectively.
All three European sides participated in memorable matches during their time in Peru. Italy opened with a breathless 4-3 win against Ivory Coast, a match that featured three goals in the last five minutes including Salvatore Foti's last-minute winner. The Italians were unable to build on that, however, going down 3-1 to the United States in their next fixture, meaning a 1-1 draw with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in their final game was not enough to gain a top-two place in Group C.
Turkey began Group B with a 1-0 win against Australia before Özgurcan Özcan and Tevfik struck inside the final ten minutes to earn a 3-2 victory against Uruguay. Abdullah Avci's side also left it late in their concluding group fixture, Caner striking a minute into added time to inflict a 2-1 defeat on eventual champions Mexico. The Netherlands, drawn in Group D, kicked off with a thrilling 5-2 success against Qatar but fell to a 2-1 defeat by Brazil in their second match, although a 2-0 victory against Gambia was enough to ensure progress.
Turkey and the Netherlands continued their winning form in the quarter-finals, late goals in each half from Sarpong giving the Dutch a 2-0 success against the United States in Trujillo. Turkey, meanwhile, cut loose in Iquitos, Tevfik and Caner both scoring twice and Nuri once in a 5-1 dismantling of China. Both the European hopefuls were to come undone in the last four, however.
The Dutch were taken apart by Mexico, who produced a scintillating display to run out 4-0 winners. Turkey also conceded four against Brazil, rallying from three goals down to level at 3-3 only for Igor to give Brazil a dramatic last-gasp victory. Of the two it was the Dutch who bounced back from their demoralising semi-final setback, Goossens finding the net at each end of the match to settle the third-placed play-off, Nuri's solitary strike coming too late for Turkey. Nevertheless, all the players who participated in the tournament will hope to have gained valuable experience that will stand them in good stead as their careers unfold.
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