Grinning Grondona an instant hit
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If prizes were being given out for the brightest smile at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, it is possible that Chile striker Jaime Grondona would walk away with the plaudits right now.

There are no better ways to announce your presence at the tournament than coming off the bench and scoring with your first touch after less than 30 seconds... and there are no bigger grins than Grondona's when he is asked about the magical moment that he struck for Chile against Canada.

With Chile leading 2-0, Grondona was brought on for Nicolas Medina in the 80th minute of their opening Group A match with Canada and he had just enough time to size up the situation as the South Americans put together an eight-pass move before he supplied the finishing touch with a headed third goal which helped confirm the Chileans as one of the tournament favourites.

"It was the best feeling... just amazing. I never thought I would do something like that but my friend and room-mate Nicolas Larrondo told me I was going to go on and score a goal and that's exactly what happened," a beaming Grondona told "When the goal went in, I went straight to him to celebrate along with the rest of the team."

Back on the bench?
As impressive as his contribution was, it may not be enough to earn the Santiago Wanderers forward a place in Chile's starting line-up for their second game against Congo on Thursday as Alexis Sanchez is back from injury and he is the preferred choice of head coach Jose Sulantay. "Jaime is strong and he can make a big difference coming on as a substitute but hopefully I will be able to put him together with Alexis Sanchez for one match. They have played very well together a lot of times before," said Sulantay.

Far from being irritated, Grondona's cheerful expression did not fade as he endorsed the view of his coach. "Alexis is a great player and it doesn't really matter who starts, what's important is the team. Whoever plays will give their best for Chile," the 20-year-old said. "We controlled the game against Canada... on the wings, up front and through the middle and that showed on the scoreboard. All the games are different and we will have to watch out for Congo but if we win that we are through to the next round.

"Our squad is very confident now and we feel this is our World Cup but the best teams and the best players in the world are here so we will have to take it step-by-step. Everybody back home is very happy, proud and excited - all my friends, family and my girlfriend. Pressure is not a factor for us and that's not a topic that we discuss in the dressing room. We maybe felt more pressure against Canada because it was the first game but have passed that test now.

"It was always my dream to play in a World Cup like this and with my first goal scored, hopefully more will come during the championship. Of course my ambition is to make into the national senior team if possible and also to see if I can make it into a world-class club side, maybe in Italy," he added. After arriving on the stage of Canada 2007 in such fine style, there is every reason to suspect that Grondona might end up with much more to smile about.