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Youth World Cup Ends as Host Champion Nigeria Falls to Switzerland


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Switzerland's youth football (soccer) team won the FIFA U-17 World Cup by defeating host and defending champion Nigeria on Sunday.

Behind a strong team defensive effort, Switzerland claimed their first ever Under 17 World Cup title, in front of a partisan and disappointed capacity crowd that filled the National Stadium in Abuja.

Switzerland forward Haris Seferovic scored the second-half game winner to give the Europeans their first-ever title at any level in their first appearance in the youth World Cup.

Swiss Coach Dany Ryser says he did not have a secret formula for crafting a string of upset wins during the tournament.

"It is no magic," Ryser said. "For me, it is work. And it is hard work for many years with these young players. And this result is wonderful. And it is also a result of this very, very hard work. And all the players have learned many things. And today, we have the fruits of this work, and that is the secret."

The Nigerians controlled the ball and tempo for long stretches of the match, but were never able to put the ball in the net.

Nigerian Coach John Obuh says his team put in a good effort, despite falling just short of their second straight Under-17 World Cup, which would have been their record-tying fourth overall.

"Definitely, the rhythm of the game did not show in the result," Obuh said. "But I think there is a lesson learned. They were thinking it was ball possession instead of goals."

The game wrapped up three weeks of play in Nigeria. Although everything did not go according to plan, the host country avoided the disastrous logistics that many FIFA officials, who threatened to move the competition just last month, had feared.

The world's football attention now shifts to South Africa, which will host next year's World Cup, the first ever on the African continent, beginning in June.

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