There is not much that these Brazil and Uruguay sides do not know about each other. The two played out a goalless draw in the final six-team group at the South American qualifying competition, and then warmed up for the world finals with two friendlies at Brazil’s national training centre. Those games could hardly have produced more contrasting results, with the Uruguayans winning the first 4-0 and the Brazilians gaining ample revenge with a 6-0 victory in the second.
There is much more than local pride at stake this Thursday, however, when the two go head-to-head for a place in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011.
While La Celeste have never before gone this far in the competition, A Seleçãozinha are set to contest their seventh semi-final in 13 finals appearances.
The Uruguayans arrive in Guadalajara with a defensive record that only Germany can match, having conceded just three goals in their five games, two of those coming in their third and final group game against England, by which time they had already qualified for the last 16.
Though Brazil have let in two goals more, they have outscored their South American rivals by 12 to eight. Three of them have come from the exciting Adryan, who will miss Thursday’s game through suspension, though coach Emerson Avila has plenty of other options at his disposal, as his side proved in putting three past Japan in the last round despite the absences of Lucas Piazon and Nathan. For their part Uruguay will be without Jim Varela, who picked up a second yellow card in the quarter-final win over Uzbekistan.
5 - The number of goals Ademilson has scored so far at Mexico 2011. That tally equals the Brazilian record for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, set by William at China 1985, the first time the competition was held and which ended with the midfielder taking the adidas Bronze Ball.
“The game we had with them in the final group at the South American qualifying competition, when we had a player sent off [defender Josue], was the toughest of the lot. They’re strong and they’re comfortable on the ball too. The two friendlies we played in Brazil produced two results that we didn’t expect and nor did they. My guess is it will be a fantastic game,” Brazil forward Leo.
“Brazil is a country with a great tradition of producing top-quality players and this U-17 teams has some very good players in it. This will be a tough match as both teams have their strengths. We are meeting a greet team, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the confidence to win,” Uruguay coach Fabian Coito.