Perennial candidates in international women's tournaments, Brazil made sure of their place at New Zealand 2008 for the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup with a business-like performance at the Sudamericano qualifying event in Chile.
Determined to make use of his country's vast array of talent, team coach Marcos Gaspar left no stone unturned in his nationwide search for prospective players. His Seleção went on to win six of their seven games, scoring 20 goals to ten conceded and only missing out on the title on goal difference.
With more time together, there is every reason to believe the Auriverdes can build on the potential shown in Chile and feature prominently at New Zealand 2008.
Brazil got off to a flying start at the Sudamericano, racking up wins against Uruguay (1-0), Venezuela (3-2), Paraguay (5-1) and Peru (3-0) to take top spot in Group B. However, after continuing their winning run in the final phase with a 3-1 defeat of eventual champions Colombia, the Canarinhas suffered their only blemish of the tournament, a 4-1 defeat to Paraguay. Despite bouncing back with an emphatic win over Argentina (4-2) in their final game, an inferior goal difference meant they had to make do with runners-up spot.
Marcos Gaspar began his coaching career in the world of Rio de Janeiro futsal. A qualified physical education teacher with post-grad studies in football- and sports- training, Gaspar began working with the Vasco da Gama women's reserve teams in 1996, progressing to the senior team in 2000. Credited with discovering Marta, the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007, the coach enjoyed such success at Vasco that he was invited by the Brazilian Football Confederation to take charge of women's national U-17.
Aged just 14, striker Beatriz Zaneratto Jao's intricate dribbling and precision finishing caused a sensation on Chilean soil. Beatriz, who plays her club football with Sao Paulo side Ferroviaria/Araraquara, netted five times at the Sudamericano to finish joint-third in the goalscorers' charts. Lining up alongside her to form a lethal attacking trident are team-mates Franciele (also with five strikes) and Raquel (four), the trio having netted 14 of Brazil's 20 goals in Chile.
What they said...
"Though we couldn't manage the title we were after, at least we made it through to the World Cup. Now, however, we have to work on our mistakes and build on the positives from Chile so we can travel to New Zealand with [title] aspirations," Marcos Gaspar, Brazil coach.