Geniuses who are touched by tragedy often make for fascinating viewing, and Brazilian starlet Lulinha has experienced both highs and lows at this year's FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007. The slightly built forward played a full part in Brazil's storming start to the competition, only to miss a late penalty in the Auriverde's bitterly disappointing 2-1 Group B defeat against England. Nevertheless, the gifted attacker has earned the respect of FIFA.com users, being voted the player most likely to make his mark on Asian soil.
Some 37.16% of voters were convinced that Lulinha will emerge ahead of his peers here at Korea 2007. The Corinthians youngster, scorer of one goal so far, polled just ahead of Spain hitman Bojan Krkic on 36.46%. Up-and-coming German playmaker Toni Kroos on 16.73% and pacey US attacker Alex Nimo on 9.65%, occupied places three and four.
Despite the reverse against England, who grabbed a stoppage-time winner after Lulinha had missed from the spot with eleven minutes left, the three-time world U-17 champions still qualified for the Round of 16 as Group B runners-up. They play Ghana on Wednesday for a place in the last eight and remain confident of lifting the trophy again in the Final in Seoul on 9 September. Their gifted No.10, already seen as a star-in-the-making back home, thinks he still has plenty of time to show the world what he can do. "We are very confident that we can win it," revealed Lulinha a few days ago, in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com (click on the right-hand link to read the whole interview).
Krkic and Kroos strutting their stuff
While Lulinha gained enough votes to win from users of the English-language page, a majority of French- and Spanish-speaking users saw Barça forward Krkic as the likeliest star of the tournament. Nor was it a surprise to see Bayern Munich youngster Kroos top the poll among German users.
Meanwhile Nimo, who had made headlines with his excellent performances in the run-up to the showpiece event, came in fourth in all four language versions of the site. This could still change, however, if the Stars and Stripes can move up a gear in the knockout phase. In fact, Thursday should see plenty of fireworks as Kroos' Germany face Nimo and his United States team-mates for a coveted place in the quarter-finals.
Make your vote count!
The numbers don't lie, and fans were certainly impressed with the action from the group phase, according to the interest shown in FIFA.com's latest poll. Why not register your vote on what has been the biggest surprise of the tournament so far? Every vote counts as we endeavour to keep track of the latest opinions and trends sweeping the sport of kings.