When you watch Portugal's new wide midfield sensation Bruno Gama in action, you get the feeling that you've seen it all somewhere before. His sharp cuts, his impish jinking moves, his ability to turn inside from a wide position on a dime and wreak significant havoc...Eureka! He might well be the second coming of Luis Figo.
With both of Portugal's goals in their 2-0 opening-day win over Oceania reps New Zealand, Gama is gunning for a similar kind of glory to that of his idol Figo, who won the FIFA U-20 World Cup back in 1991 on home soil.
"We would absolutely love to do what Figo and his generation did back in the '89 and '91," the Braga player told FIFA.com.
After his two-goal day against the Kiwis, the electrifying Gama was a jumble of joy and jitters when talking to gathered members of the Portuguese press outside the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto. "Our goal here at this tournament is to win every game, including the Final, and hopefully I can score more goals like I did tonight on the way there."
Home advantage again
They may be on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but Gama and his team-mates are enjoying all the benefits of playing 'at home' in Toronto. With a 20,000-strong Portuguese community calling the city home, the Stadium was a 'Little Lisbon' draped in green and maroon.
Gama's first goal - a stunning free kick on the stroke of halftime - was met with a thunderous roar from stands. And the player was quick to return the affection after the game, saying, "I love the fans in Canada. The way they supported us was just amazing today."
Striker Zequinha of club side Tourizense echoed his captain's sentiments as he signed autographs on his way to the team coach. "The fans were absolutely amazing in the way they supported us. It felt like we were playing back in Portugal," he said with a big smile across his face as he posed for the odd photograph.
But it wasn't all smiles and good cheer for Jose Couceiro's young men. The boss, who bares a significant resemblance in both temperament and appearance to Chelsea boss and Portuguese cult figure Jose Mourinho, will have been concerned with the way his boys switched off in the last ten minutes. Were it not for some slack finishing from Kiwi Jeremy Brocki, the match could have well ended in a draw.
"We made some mistakes too and were lucky that we were not punished," Couceiro said after the first match. "We'll try to do better in the upcoming games."
With the Portuguese knowing they need to do better in their next contest in a tough test with U-17 champions Mexico, who looked nothing short of outstanding in their 3-0 opening-day win over Gambia.
Defender Mano is particularly concerned. "We did what we had to do against New Zealand," he told FIFA.com grudgingly, "But if we play like that against Mexico we will be in trouble. We must improve if we want to achieve our goals here in Canada."
Assuming the well-supported Lusitanians' goals are like Gama says - reaching the Final - some more goals from their new Figo will be a welcome development against Giovanni dos Santos and Carlos Vela's Mexico on Thursday in Toronto. A win for either side will guarantee them a spot in the knockout stages.