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Brazil the Big Boys at U-20 World Cup
AP, September 23rd, 2009 4:15PM

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Brazil is a heavy favorite ahead of the Under-20 World Cup, which kicks off this Thursday in Egypt. The four-time champions, however, has watched Argentina win five of the last seven tournaments, including 2007, when Brazil failed to reach the quarterfinals. Brazil can rest a little easier knowing that Argentina failed to qualify for this year's tournament, but the country always feels the pressure of its great expectations.

"We have a very talented squad and we're capable of playing a great tournament," Brazil forward Alain Kardec said. "There's always pressure when you're playing for the Selecao, regardless of the age group, but the players are ready."

The U-20 tournament has a history of unearthing the stars of tomorrow. Kaka, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Thierry Henry, Xavi Hernandez, Michael Owen, Michael Essien and Lionel Messi are among soccer's greats who have shone at a tournament that remains a magnet for scouts from the world's top teams. "In this competition, you will see stars created," FIFA vice president Jack Warner said Wednesday. "Messi was not born in Barcelona. Messi was born from this kind of competition. Michael Owen, all these guys ... they don't come here as stars, they are made stars."

Brazilian atttacking midfielders Douglas Costa and Erick Flores are among those to watch this time, and should give Brazil coach Rodrigo Lourenco plenty of options for the opening match against Costa Rica in Port Said on Sunday. Brazil also faces Australia and Czech Republic in Group E.

 

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