Brazil have always captured the imagination at world U-20 events, with the Marta-inspired Canarinhas claiming fourth place at both Canada 2002 and Thailand 2004. And even without Marta's unique brand of footballing artistry, the Umea star ruled out through club commitments, the Auriverde went one better at Russia 2006, finishing third after a shootout victory over the United States.
The pick of the U-20 crop who starred on Russian soil have since gone on to work wonders at senior level, playing a full part in Brazil's run to the Final of the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007. Filling the gap at youth level and preparing to make the step up themselves are another generation of quality youngsters, who in qualifying underlined their status as the continent's top side. Barbara's performances between the sticks suggest she could be one of the world's finest keepers in the coming years, while forward Erika's eye for goal has drawn comparisons with the great Cristiane.
As you would expect, the Seleção are once again among the favourites to go all the way at Chile 2008. Coach Kleiton Lima, in charge of the U-20s for the first time during the South American qualifying competition, had this to say on his side's progress: "Our performances were beyond reproach and we didn't concede any goals. Furthermore, we have two of the top scorers and we played very good football. Now we have to focus our preparations on the World Cup."
Marta (2002 and 2004), Cristiane (2004 and 2006), Renata Costa (2004 and 2006), Fabiana (2006).
Erika (forward), Pamela (forward), Barbara (goalkeeper), Daiane (midfielder).
The C anarinhas won all seven of their games at the South American Women's U-20 Championship, scoring a staggering 30 goals without reply.
The numbers game
3- The number of titles Brazil women have won at youth level.