CONMEBOL: Brazil take the U-20 title in South America
This weekend saw the completion of the South American Youth Championship and what a final match the tournament had in prospect as the top two of Uruguay and Brazil fought it out for the crown. Unfortunately, for those anticipating a closely fought contest, it proved to be a one-sided encounter.
The two most successful countries at this level in South America, Brazil and Uruguay were hoping to clinch the title with victory in their head-to-head clash on Saturday night. Both teams were already assured of their places in this year’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup along with Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia who, despite finishing bottom of the six team group, were guaranteed their place due to their position as tournament hosts. As well as the FIFA U-20 event the top two had also been assured of their places in the 2012 Olympic Games so many observers wanted an open match with both teams going all out for the title.
Seven times Under-20 winners Uruguay were hoping to clinch their first title at this level for thirty years whilst the Brazilians, winners of the previous two tournaments, wanted to clinch a hat-trick and thus a record extending eleventh title overall. The game was deadlocked until five minutes before half-time when São Paulo midfielder Lucas scored twice in as many minutes to take the wind out of Uruguay’s sails. The second half turned into a procession as the ruthless Brazilians struck four more times to stun their opponents. Lucas clinched his hat-trick, Neymar sealed his position as the tournament’s top-scorer by netting twice and Danilo completed the scoring. Neymar’s nine goals in the competition have turned him into the continent’s hot property and there are bound to be many clubs chasing his signature in the coming months.
Brazil topped the final group stage table with twelve points from five matches, two more than Uruguay. Argentina and Ecuador, who also sealed berths at the FIFA U-20 event, ended up with nine and eight points respectively whilst fifth place Chile are the unlucky nation not to qualify for Colombia having finished with three points, two more than the Colombians themselves.