Brazil have won the South American U-20 Women's
Championship after a 3-0 victory over Argentina in the title
decider. Both sides went into the tournament's final matchday
level on points but it was the hosts who emerged victorious, a
brace from Daiane and a Karen penalty condemning the
Albicelestes to second place and sealing the
Auriverde's 100 per cent record.
Weakened by the absence of injured duo Amancay Urbani and Analia Hirmbruchner, who both face lengthy lay-offs after damaging knee ligaments, coach Carlos Borrello's Argentina battled bravely but eventually came up short in the face of a Brazilian onslaught.
The win for the
Seleção, who had new coach Kleiton Lima at the helm, saw
them take their third title in the history of the competition after
success in the 2004 and 2006 editions. And Lima's
Canarinhas were certainly the outstanding side on show in
the Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Bage, winning all seven of
their games and scoring a staggering 30 goals without reply. The
host nation's performances undoubtedly had an impact on the
encouraging attendance levels, with the final round of matches in
Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, attracting close to 3,000
Leading from the front for the hosts was Erika, who topped the scoring charts with seven goals despite missing the Argentina game through suspension. Not far behind was fellow Auriverde Pamela, who finished with six goals to her name.
Another of the team's outstanding performers was Leah, born
in Sao Paulo but raised in the United States. And though her
Portuguese may require a little polishing, her talent and love of
jogo bonito more than make up for it. Boasting a
particularly eye-catching throw-in technique, this keen gymnast
only launches the ball into play after performing a spectacular
forward flip first.
In finishing first and second respectively in the four-team final round, Brazil and Argentina both guaranteed their involvement at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Chile 2008, scheduled to take place between 19 November and 7 December.
Just missing out were Paraguay, who defeated their Chilean counterparts 4-2 on the final matchday to take third place. Starring for the Albirroja was hat-trick hero Dulce Quintana, with team-mate Viviana Pereira also weighing in from the penalty spot.
Replying for the Rojitas were Daniela Zamora and Nathalie Quezada, whose side were using the competition to prepare for this year's global showpiece on home soil. "We can perform better, but we haven't proved that yet. We need to work on improving our concentration because nerves and anxiety took their toll on us in several games. It's been a good experience though, because we've learned so much," said Chile goalkeeper Romina Parraguirre.
On the same wavelength was midfielder Andrea Zuniga: "We performed well on the whole but we made mistakes at crucial times and sometimes lacked a bit of leadership. That said, we've got a great chance of things going well for us as the World Cup."