In South America at least, Brazil emphatically rule the roost at women’s U-20 level. Indeed, A Seleção Brasileira have won all five editions of the continental championship to date, including in 2012. Outside their home continent, however, and their record is much less spectacular, with one third place (2006) and two fourths (2002 and 2004) their best showings at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. That said, the latter two tournaments did have the additional silver lining of introducing Marta and Cristiane to the attention of the wider footballing world. Most recently, at Germany 2010, Brazil suffered the ignominy of a first-round exit after defeat to Korea DPR, a draw with Sweden and a solitary victory over New Zealand.
The current U-20 squad have been charged with erasing the memory of that early exit and feature several players from Brazil’s run to the quarter-finals at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2010. The likes of Daniele, Ingrid, Andressa, Paula, Beatriz, Thais Guedes and Glaucia are all established performers at youth national team level, as is Ketlen, who is set to travel to her third FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Said experience should enable her to handle the weighty expectation on her shoulders and those of fellow attacker Thaisinha, the top scorers at the 2012 South American U-20 Women’s Championship with nine and seven goals respectively. Thais Guedes, in common with U-20 colleague Beatriz, can also point to having been part of the Seleção Brasileira at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ and is often tagged as Marta’s possible successor.
At the helm is Caio Couto who, in his first ever role in the women’s game, has been earning extensive praise from the head coach of Brazil’s senior side: Jorge Barcellos. And in a further vote of confidence in Couto and the talent of this new generation, Barcellos has already called up the likes of Daniele, Maria, Bia and Thaisinha to train with the squad he intends to take to the Olympic Football Tournament London 2012.
Facts and figures
Marta, Cristiane, Renata Costa, Maurine
Thais Guedes, Beatriz, Ketlen
The road to Japan
The South American U-20 Women’s Championship held in Curitiba, Brazil, doubled as a qualifying competition for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012. The hosts swept all before them by winning all seven of their games, scoring 28 goals and conceding just once. Among the one-sided victories were 6-0, 7-0 and 8-0 successes against Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay respectively, though it was a tighter 2-0 win over Argentina in their last game of the final stage that clinched the title.
9 – Winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year for five consecutive years, Marta shone at two editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, a stage on which she plundered an impressive nine goals. Six of these came at Canada 2002 and three at Thailand 2004, where the then rising star won the adidas Golden Ball.