Sellas Tetteh’s side become the first-ever African winners of the competition, following defeats in two previous visits to the final.
Despite going down to the 10 men when Daniel Addo was sent-off in the 37th minute – the African champions never stopped fighting against the four-time champions.
Both sides had chances to break the deadlock but Ghana’s prolific strikeforce of Dominic Adiyiah and Ransford Osei had a quiet game.
Brazil though will look to two gilt-edged chances in extra time – Daniel Agyei pulled off a world-class save to deny Maicon and then frustrated Wellington Junior, as a penalty shoot-out looked increasingly inevitable.
The resulting spot kicks were certainly dramatic as the advantage ebbed and flowed.
Jonathan Mensah missed for Ghana and Maicon had a chance to win it – but blasted over the bar.
Adiyiah kept his nerve to force the penalties into sudden death where Agyei denied Alex Teixeira and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu fired home, to send unbeaten Ghana to the title.
Hungary also needed penalties to secure victory in the third place play-off after their clash with Costa Rica ended 1-1 after regulation time.
Hungary’s Peter Gulasci was the hero – beating away three efforts from the South Americans.