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New Stars Arise in the Soccer World

Posted December. 05, 2003 23:02,   


Who are the “new rising stars” of the soccer world?

The 2003 World Youth Soccer Championship (under 20 years old) is being held in the United Arab Emirates and is the stage in which the future soccer stars can be seen and will be active in the upcoming 2006 Germany World Cup.

The most watched guy so far among the young players from 24 countries is Andre Iniesta (FC Barcelona) of Spain. He helped his team advance to the final 16 with his fantastic winning goal at the Group B match against Uzbekistan on December 5.

Iniesta is an attacking midfielder who commands Spain’s midfielders. His excellent passes and beautiful free kicks earned him the nickname “the magician of midfield.” Iniesta showed his outstanding passing skill and reckless breakthrough against Argentina despite the loss on November 29, and dominated the game against Mali to lead his team to victory with a score of 2-0.

“The goal-earning defender” Leandro Fernandez (Newell’s Old Boys) representing Argentina comes up as a surprising star. Even though he is not so big, 178 cm and 71 kg, he headed in the tying and lead-capturing goals in the big opener over Spain, and he achieved a dramatic tying goal at the seemingly-certain defeat at 25 minutes into the second half against Uzbekistan on December 2.

Fernandez didn’t score a goal, but performed well defensively in the match against Mali on December 5. He is now the co-leader in scoring with three goals and is competing in popularity with Fernando Cavenaghi (River Plate) who has been called “the new Maradona” and had been previously in the spotlight.

Cavenaghi is also leading the Argentinean offense as well, gaining a penalty kick during injury time in the second half against Uzbekistan, and kicking it in to contribute to the pleasant come-from-behind triumph.

Ousseni Zongo (Anderlecht), helping “the strong blast” Burkina Faso land into the final 16, earned his first goal against Slovakia on December 2 to be the front-runner of “the black storm.” Stephen Elliott (Manchester City) of Ireland also joined the new star’s club as a scoring co-leader with three goals.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com