tHoping to embark on a fairytale run and whip up a little national frenzy in the process, hosts Canada open their Group A campaign against a high-power Chile at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto on 1 July - fittingly the nationally recognised 'Canada Day.'
Pressure will be mounting for the young hosts in their opening game of the finals. With most players in the team citing the importance of starting on the right foot, nothing less than a win will do for the steady-looking Canucks. However, up against a Chilean side that finished third in the South Americans qualifiers ahead of Argentina and Brazil and have whipped up talk of a possible charge to the title, the result is by no means a foregone conclusion.
For Canada no less than six players are returning for the their second FIFA U-20 finals and will be keen to put the disappointing first-round exit of Netherlands 2005 behind them. Chief among the returning veterans are Newcastle centre back David Edgar and the jet-heeled Jaime Peters. Chile, for their part, will be counting on the sumptuous ball skills and dedication of Colo Colo's Arturo Vidal, but are hit by the suspension of his club mate Alexis Sanchez and Hans Martinez.
Though they have met at senior level, Canada and Chile have never squared off at a FIFA U-20 World Cup. The hosts will not be heartened by the fact that, in six tries at this level, they have never beaten South American opposition.
"You know Chile are good if they won the South American qualifying tournament. They'll be coming to beat us and we'll be gunning for them. I know they have a few good players but if we play our game I think we can get something from it." Canada winger Jaime Peters.
"It won't be a typical hang back kind of game...we're both going to be pressing and trying to win. But I think the home crowd and our preparations will give us the advantage." Canada defender David Edgar.
"We have a group of good players, and we like to go forward. On our day we can outwit any defence" Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal.