1979 FIFA World Youth Championship Final

The 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship Final was a football match that was played on at the National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan on 7 September 1979 to determine the champions of the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship. The final was contested by Argentina and the Soviet Union. Argentina won the match 3–1, winning the title for the first time.[1]

1979 FIFA World Youth Championship Final
National Stadium of Tokyo, venue of the match
Event1979 FIFA World Youth Championship
Date7 September 1979
VenueNational Stadium, Tokyo
RefereeJosé Roberto Wright (Brazil)

Argentine raising superstar Diego Maradona, who scored a goal, was named the best player of the competition.


Ernesto Duchini (left) chose the players that were then coached by César Menotti (right)

Argentina had won its first FIFA World Cup just one year before. César Luis Menotti, who had managed the senior squad that crowned champion in Argentina, coached the team. Ernesto Duchini –who was part of the coaching staff to discover new talents around the country– had selected the players that were then under the guidance of Menotti to win the title.[2]

Duchini had been in charge of Argentine youth teams since 1954, and was a cornestone of the coaching staff that leaded that group of players to achieve their first title. Some of the players discovered by Duchini were Roberto Perfumo, Carlos García Cambón, Oscar Más, Rubén Ayala, Oscar Ortíz, Jorge Olguín, Raúl Savoy, among others.[3]

Duchini worked side-by-side with Miguel Gitano Juárez, former player of Rosario Central and very close to Menotti. Juárez suggested some players for the youth team, such as Juan Simón, Rubén Rossi, Rafael Seria and Daniel Sperandío, all of them playing in Rosario-based clubs.

The players selected to play the tournament were goalkeepers Sergio García (Flandria) and Rafael Seria (Central Córdoba); defenders Juan Simón (Newell's), Rubén Rossi (Colón), Abelardo Carabelli (Argentinos Juniors), Hugo Alves (Boca Juniors), Marcelo Bachino (Boca Juniors), Jorge Piaggio (Atlanta); midfielders Daniel Sperandío (Rosario Central), Juan Barbas (Racing), Osvaldo Rinaldi (San Lorenzo), Juan José Meza (Central Norte de Tucumán); Diego Maradona (Argentinos Juniors); forwards Osvaldo Escudero (Chacarita), Alfredo Torres (Atlanta), Ramón Díaz (River Plate), Gabriel Calderón (Racing), José Luis Lanao (Vélez).[4]

Diego Maradona was the playmaker and leader of that team. His performance in the competition was so stunning that was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. He also won the Silver Boot as the second topscorer behind teammate Ramón Díaz.[2]

Road to the final

Argentina Round Soviet Union
Opponent Result Group stage Opponent Result
 Indonesia 5–0 Match 1  Hungary 5–1
 Yugoslavia 1–0 Match 2  Guinea 3–0
 Poland 4–1 Match 3  Uruguay 0–1
Group B winners
Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD Status
 Argentina 63300101+9Advanced to the quarter-finals
 Poland 4320194+5
 Yugoslavia 2310253+2
 Indonesia 0300301616
Final standings Group D runners-up
Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD Status
 Uruguay 6330080+8Advanced to the quarter-finals
 Soviet Union 4320182+6
 Hungary 2310237–4
 Guinea 0300301010
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
 Algeria 5–0 Quarter finals  Paraguay 2–2 (aet) (6–5 pen.)
 Uruguay 2–0 Semi-finals  Poland 1–0

Match details

Argentina 3–1 Soviet Union
Alves  68'
Díaz  71'
Maradona  76'
Report Ponomaryov  52'
Attendance: 52,000
Soviet Union
GK1Sergio García
DF4Abelardo Carabelli
DF2Juan Simón
DF6Rubén Rossi
DF3Hugo Alves
MF8Juan Barbas
MF13Osvaldo Rinaldi
MF10Diego Maradona
FW7Osvaldo Escudero
FW9Ramón Díaz
FW11Gabriel Calderón
MF17Juan J. Meza
GK12Rafael Seria
DF13Jorge Piaggio
MF5Daniel Sperandío
DF15Marcelo Bachino
FW16Alfredo Torres
FW18José Lanao
César Menotti
GK1Victor Chanov
DF14Sergei Ovchinnikov
DF2Victor Yanushevsky
DF4Ashot Khachatrian
DF5Aleksandr Polukarov
MF15Anatoli Radenko
MF6Jaroslav Dumansky
MF8Igor Ponomarev
FW13Sergei Stukashev
FW10Oleg Taran
FW11Igor Gurinovich
MF7Mikhail Olefirenko
16Vladimir Mikhalevsky
DF3Alexander Golovnia
9Valeri Zubenko
12Gennadi Zalov
MF17Aleksandr Zavarov
18Sergei Krakovsky
Sergei Korshunov

Match rules:

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra time if necessary
  • Penalty shoot-out if scores still level
  • Five named eligible substitutes
  • Maximum of two substitutions



The second world title within two years were widely celebrated by people throughout the country, as they had done the previous year after the win against the Netherlands.[2]

The media also praised the team's style of play, attributed to Menotti's philosophy toward the game.[3]

Beyond the great performance of the team in general, media focused on the performances of Argentinos Juniors' star Diego Maradona (highlighting his control of the ball, passing and dribbling) and Ramón Díaz's scoring prowess at the tournament.[4]

At their returning from Japan, the players were carried in helicopter to the Atlanta stadium, where the flagship landed on the field as part of the celebrations for the championship won in Tokyo.[5]

See also


  1. World Youth Cup (U-20) 1979 (Japan) by Pablo Ciullini, Erik Garin and Héctor V. Martínez on the RSSSF
  2. Argentina Sub-20 1979 on El Gráfico
  3. Argentina ganaba su primer mundial juvenil on Diario Jornada, 6 Sep 2014
  4. Hace 37 años, Argentina ganaba su primer Mundial Juvenil by Gustavo Lenti, Telam, 7 Sep 2016
  5. La delirante llegada del campeón sub 20 (video), El Gráfico
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