AP, Wednesday, September 23, 2009 4:15 PM
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
"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
Brazilian atttacking midfielders Douglas Costa
and Erick Flores
are among those to watch this time, and should give Brazil coach
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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