Football fans would be wise to flock to Burnaby ahead of
Wednesday's mouth-watering Round-of-16 clash at the Swangard
stadium. Four-time FIFA U-20 World Cup-winners Brazil take on 1999
champions Spain for a coveted place in the quarter-finals.
Spain-Brazil, 11 July, Burnaby, 20:15 (local time)
No doubt about it, Wednesday's game between Spain and Brazil has the air of a final. Brazil go into the match on the back of their worst ever group-stage performance at the showpiece event. Never before have the four-time champions lost two first-round games and won just one, even recording a negative goal difference - almost unheard of for the mighty Auriverde. Spain meanwhile eased their way through to the next round as group winners, after two wins and one draw. La Furia Roja are also the tournament's second top scorers, although question marks surround their shaky defensive line, which has shed a hefty five goals thus far.
Spain are free of injuries and suspensions, defender Gerard Pique recovering well from an injury suffered in the group game with Jordan. Neither do Brazil have any walking wounded, but centre-back David Marinho must serve the second of a four-game suspension.
The two sides have crossed swords in the title decider at two previous FIFA U-20 World Cups (USSR 1985 and United Arab Emirates 2003), the Canarinhos taking the spoils on both occasions.
"Spain are a very well-organised team, the toughest we could have been drawn against in the last sixteen." Nelson Rodrigues, Brazil coach.
"We know that Spain are a very good team and are enjoying a great tournament. But we're training very hard to be able to win the game and go through." Alexandre Pato, Brazil striker.
"It's a knockout game that we can't let slip through our fingers because we're determined to reach the Final. We have to play quick football and move the ball about fluidly, without losing concentration." Esteban Granero, Spain midfielder.
"They are top-class opponents. They are former world champions and beat us in the Final back in 2003. They are a great team, and I think we were somewhat unfortunate to be drawn against them. I think that these two sides should really be meeting at a later stage, but Brazil didn't perform well in the first phase so it's come around now. I hope we give them a very tough game." Gines Melendez, Spain coach.