6. SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil claims youth title
Brazil won the South American Under-20 Championship in Paraguay.
For the first time, the tournament served as qualifying for both the 2007 Under-20 World Cup and 2008 Olympics. The top
four teams -- Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile -- qualified for Canada '07, and Brazil and Argentina will play in the under-23 men's soccer competition at the Olympics. Argentina edged out
Uruguay for the second Olympic berth when Argentina beat the Celeste, 1-0, on a goal by Lautaro Acosta in the final 20 seconds of stoppage time on the last
day of tournament play. Colombia and Paraguay were the other two teams in the final-round group.
Brazil and Argentina were playing without their European-based stars, but Paraguay '07 was
a showcase for other players, including rising Brazilian stars Alexandre Pato, Lucas Pazzini and Leandro Lima. Italian club Inter Milan was reportedly offering $18 million to acquire Alexandre Pato from world club champion Internacional and playmaker Lucas from
Gremio. Other names to remember include Edinson Cavani, who scored seven goals for Uruguay, Argentine Maximiliano Morales
and Colombian Juan Pino.
Brazil won its ninth U-20 title despite having three players suspended after an attack on Colombian referee Albert
Duarte following Brazil's 2-2 tie with Chile on Jan. 22. Midfielder Fernando was suspended for the rest of the tournament, while defenders Thiago Heleno and Carlinhos were each given two-match bans. At one stage, Duarte, who awarded two late penalty kicks to
Chile, fell to the ground holding his red card after being pushed by a Brazilian player.
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