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Brazil favored to reach Under-20 World Cup final

October 13th, 2009

brazilunder20

Brazil has already beaten Costa Rica once and is heavily favored to win again Tuesday in the semifinals of the Under-20 World Cup.

Brazil last won the tournament in 2003 and will stay on track for its fifth title if it beats Costa Rica in Cairo. In the other semifinal match, Ghana takes on Hungary and is a game away from reaching its third U20 final.

Costa Rica lost its opening match to Brazil 5-0 and faces the daunting task of trying to stop the team’s attacking machine again. Brazil has scored 13 goals in five games and spread the goals around.

“Most teams have been playing very defensively against Brazil,” Brazil coach Rogerio Lourenco said. “Still, we will be ready to face any formation.”

Brazil survived a nervy quarterfinal match against Germany, with Maicon coming off the bench to equalize very late before scoring another in extra time. Krisztian Nemeth also scored twice, both in extra time, as Hungary beat Italy 3-2.

“Once you are into the knockout stage of such a competition, you have to keep your balance and your mindset no matter what score it is,” Lourenco said. “The players were able to keep their calm, and they kept believing.”

Costa Rica also needed extra time to beat the United Arab Emirates, and coach Ronald Gonzalez sounded far from confident about facing Brazil.

“We are aware of what we have achieved so far and are very contented,” Gonzalez said Monday. “Against Brazil you have to concentrate for at least (90) minutes. Against Brazil, we obviously have to pay attention to the way we defend.”

Ghana lost to Argentina in the final in 1993 and 2001, and has looked to be the most consistent team so far along with Brazil.

With Hungary’s senior team looking likely to again miss the World Cup – Hungary has not played in football’s main event since 1986 – the nation’s despondent fans will get a welcome boost if Hungary beats Ghana.

“We should not think about our personal careers. We must think only that there is a country behind us and they are really hungry for success,” Nemeth said. “This country deserves it.”

After losing its opening match to Honduras 3-0, Hungary has scored 11 goals in four matches, with Nemeth and midfielder Vladimir Koman getting three each.

“This is the most successful generation. At the (2008) under-19 European Championship we also reached the last four,” Hungary coach Sandor Egervari said. “This is a sign that this generation is really strong. I hope they break through.”

Koman, however, is suspended for Tuesday’s match, as are right back Adrian Szekeres and Egervari – both were sent off against Italy.

Zsolt Korcsmar will replace Koman as captain, but Egervari said that will be a huge loss.

“We don’t have an equivalent player, he is also our playmaker,” Egervari said. “The players who replace him will have a very hard job.”

Ghana has relied heavily on strikers Ransford Osei and Dominic Adiyiah, the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, and the team has successfully mixed athleticism with attacking flair.

“Ghana has made a lot of impact at this tournament,” Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh said. “It’s a great opportunity for the players to showcase themselves.”

Tetteh is wary of Hungary’s attacking threat, even without Koman orchestrating attacks.

“They have been very consistent, and it is so clear that they have the fighting spirit,” Tetteh said. “They are good passers of the ball and are very quick in attack.”

http://msn.foxsports.com


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