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Other World Youth Championship Stories

Canuck Oranje

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I posted this FIFA story because it adds to a post I made in January after returning from Brazil that focused on the incredible depth of talent that exists there. Secondly, it supports my opinion that building depth in Canada should be the top priority. It is great that we reach the World Youth Championships. It would be even greater if we were in a position where we could pick a second team that could make it too (having said that, Canada is improving its depth, in my opinion).

I also saw Diego Tardelli play in Sao Paulo in November 2003. He was an exceptional player already then. Incidentally, Kleber (now playing for Dynamo Kiev) of the Brazil 2003 WYC team also played in that game.

It also suggests an approach for those players uncertain about participating.

Brazil's fittest ready to survive

(FIFA.com) 11 Jun 2005

When Brazil kick off their opening Group F match against Nigeria in Emmen on Sunday evening all eyes will search for the next best thing. In recent years Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano have emerged from the selecao ranks. But while the FIFA World Youth Championship may well be the ideal stepping stone to future greatness and the land of plenty, it is a mighty struggle to even make it among the 21 names and be able to showcase their ability to a watching world.

For Brazil, a nation with four million registered players, competition is fierce. Continuity seems to be the new watchword in youth development for most associations but not for the record-breaking South Americans. Of Marcos Paqueta's junior side that defeated all at the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland, only two players - defender Leonardo and goalkeeper Bruno - have been chosen in Rene Weber's U-20 side in Holland.

"Most of those (Finland 2003) players are not first-teamers now," explains Weber, "and we want to have footballers who are both in form and who need little preparation for the tournament. We want match-sharp players."

By contrast, group rivals Switzerland include the majority of the boys that made it good by winning the UEFA European U-17 Championship in 2002.

Coach Rene Weber conducts a training session in Emmen on 10 June ahead of their first match against Nigeria.

"Brazil has thousands of footballers to choose from - unlike Switzerland," adds the coach from the team hotel in Emmen. "For me, three years is a long time to have the same team. If you do not play well, you are out!"


Some might think it a tough selection policy but results reflect its success. In Japan Pentacampeo became a universal word, now, three years later, the selecao will be gunning for their fifth world youth crown. Another newcomer Weber, a former playing colleague of CBF technical director Branco, is happy to admit some continuity in the coaching field at least.

"I have regular chats with (Carlos Alberto) Parreira (senior coach) but I am my own man," he goes on. "I play a similar 4-4-2 formation but that is just a coincidence. I also use videos to help explain strategies to players. For me the player and the ball are the most important aspects - talent and control. Size you can work on later."

While fans in the Netherlands' north-east town of Emmen will be licking their lips at the prospect of a more carefree Brazilian approach, Weber has also revealed he can be a man of steel when necessary.

Diego Tardelli, undoubtedly one of the hottest prospects on show, is one player to have learned a valuable lesson at the hands of the U-20 coach. The Sao Paulo striker, who racked up 14 goals in the state championship and has already struck three times during the club's progress to the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores, was left out of the squad for the South American Youth Championship.

"He was not convinced about playing so I left him out to give him a chance to think about it," he adds, without referring to Parreira's decision to leave Ronaldo out of the recent FIFA World Cup qualifiers. "I explained that it was important for a top-class player to participate in youth teams if one day they wanted to be picked for the full senior side. Now he wants to play in the world finals and we're happy to have a motivated player."

Evandro and Evandro

Evandro picked up the adidas Silver Ball, behind Cesc, in Finland but unlike the Spaniard he will not be on Dutch duty. Brazil do have another Evandro though. Playing in the creative attacking midfielder's role, the 18-year-old will be hoping to strike gold for both his team and himself.

Evandro has already shown he is a player for a big occasion. He showed bottle to stride up and slot home the winning penalty in Paraguay against Cerro Porteno in the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 and followed up with the first in Atletico Paranaense's 3-2 first-leg quarter-final victory against Santos in Curitiba on 26 May. Thousands of miles away from his club colleagues who are readying for the second leg, Evandro's sacrifice speaks wonders for the draw of the famous yellow jersey.

"During our 18-day preparation, seven players have left to play in the Copa Libertadores for Santos, Sao Paulo and Paranaense," laments Weber. "It has not been ideal."

With Fernandinho, the scorer of the winner at the last U-20 finals in the UAE, out injured Weber will be looking at those players to provide the experience and lift morale, something that runs high among all Brazilian teams.

"The spirit has to be good in the camp. When you have friendship you have a good tournament," he concludes. "And if they want to play in Europe, they need to work hard."

With such a philosophy, most watchers will continue to look to Brazil to supply the cream of the crop for many years to come.

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