Almost everyone expected Brazil to be heading into their 3 July match against Korea Republic in Montreal with three points already in the bag. Instead, the Taeguk Warriors have stolen a march on their Group D rivals thanks to their opening draw against the United States, while the Auriverdes were tripped up by Poland. The South Koreans are treading cautiously, but their rampant display in the first match will have undoubtedly have put a spring in their step, leaving a tantalising tussle in prospect.
After a shock defeat in the opening game to Poland, Brazil are already playing catch-up. The four-time champions got off to a sluggish start against the east Europeans and now have it all to do against Korea Republic. As for the Taeguk Warriors, they put the Stars and Stripes to the sword but paid for their blunt finishing in front of goal, emerging with a single point despite their dominance. As a result, neither team can afford to lose this match, with fans gearing up for a veritable feast of attacking football in Montreal.
In the Korea Republic camp, coach Dong Hyun Cho has no injuries or suspensions to contend with and is therefore likely to send out the same team which gave the USA defence a torrid time. As for Brazil, Nelson Rodrigues also has a full squad at his disposal and, given that nothing less than a win will do, may be tempted to reshuffle his pack. This could mean a place in the starting line-up for attack-minded midfielder Carlos Eduardo.
Whatever about their form, there is no questioning Brazil's footballing pedigree - this match will be the Auriverdes' 80th in the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The statistics provide little cheer for the South Koreans, who have failed to take a point against the Canarinhos in seven FIFA tournament encounters, including five at U-20 level. Worse still, the South Americans routed the Taeguk Warriors 10-3 at the FIFA World Youth Championship Malaysia 1997, the highest scoreline in the history of the tournament. No doubt the South Koreans will be keen to erase this embarrassing memory with a rousing performance...
"Everyone knows that Brazil are the team to beat in world football. Even so, we don't fear them and know that we can get the better of them. They're very strong on the attack, so first and foremost we will have to play well in defence." Korea Republic midfielder Young Sum Shim.
"We don't have the upper hand over Brazil just because we're one point in front. That doesn't change a thing. Regardless of the results from the opening matches, I think that Brazil are still the hardest team to beat in the group." Korea Republic coach Dong Hyun Cho.
"Korea are an extremely tricky team to play against because
they're both solid in defence and very quick on the
Brazil coach Nelson Rodrigues.
"All we are thinking about is getting the win. Korea are a very strong team, as they showed in the first match, but if we want to be the champions we have to beat everybody." Brazil forward Jo.