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
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.