The holders of the South American under-20 championships are never likely to field a weak side. The man in charge of the current Canarinha is national boss Dunga’s right hand man Rogério Moraes Lourenço. All of Brazil’s squad play in their homeland courtesy of the legislation which now makes it illegal for players to ply their trade abroad before their 18th birthday. It’s not even as if the national side were struggling, with seven World Cup titles in the under-20 and under-17 categories already beside their name. The Brazilian youth teams have also managed to collect silverware at a further seventeen South American tournaments.
One to watch: Douglas Costa (Gremio)
A tricky task lies ahead for Colombia as first they Indian satta try to advance from the initial group stage. Coach José Helmer Silva has only recently taken up the post and must organise his troops well if they are to stand any chance in the competition. Failure to qualify for the last under-20 World Cup could provide the spur needed for the only nation to have broken Brazil and Argentina’s dominance of this competition in the last 25 years. Another plus for the Colombians is that their fans do not have far to travel and should turn out in numbers to support their team.
One to watch: Camilo Vargas (Independiente Santa Fe)
Expectation is high in Chile after the country finished third in the under-20 FIFA World Cup in Canada three years ago. The trouble is that coach José Sulantay and most of the team have since moved on. Replacement coach Ivo Basay must work with the players he has at his disposal to manage expectations as best as he can. Chile have already been robbed of the influential Eduardo Vargas who was forced to withdraw with an injury.
One to watch: Marcos Medel (Audax Italiano)
Many of Ecuador’s squad have already tasted success when their country scooped the gold medal at the Pan-American Games two years ago in Rio de Janeiro. Coached by Julio Caesar Rosero, known simply as The Emperor, Ecuador will be going all out to bag one of the four under-20 FIFA World Cup spots up for grabs. Anything less than qualification for the tournament in Egypt later this year would be viewed as a disappointment for this talented bunch.