Brazil, Egypt aim for first blood

The final match on day one of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011 pits three-time world champions Brazil against Egypt, who have been making solid progress at this level over the last decade. Both sides are expected to figure strongly in Group E, and whoever comes out on top in this game will have every chance of progressing to the next round.

The game
Brazil-Egypt, Barranquilla, Friday 29 July, 9pm (local time)

The stakes
The Brazilians are on a high after taking the South American title earlier in the year, and not even the absence of Neymar and Lucas, who have been on Copa America duty, has unsettled coach Ney Franco. Having drafted Inter Milan’s Philippe Coutinho into the squad, Franco is aiming to land Brazil’s fourth world title in the category and will be looking to the likes of Casemiro, Oscar and Danilo, who all held down first-team places with their clubs during the domestic season, to maintain the nation’s high standards.

While they may have a less impressive record in the competition, Egypt nevertheless finished third at Portugal 1991, reached the last 16 on home soil in 2009 and have only failed on two occasions to progress beyond the group phase in six attempts. The Egyptians should not be lacking in motivation this time around either, with coach El Sayed Diaa banking on the playmaking skills of Mohamed Hamdy and the solid goalkeeping of Ahmed Elshenawi to inspire them to the knockout rounds.

The stat
2 -
The number of goals Brazil need to become the first nation to hit the 200 mark in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. In their 16 tournament appearances to date, A Seleção have amassed 198 goals at an average of 2.22 per game, well ahead of Argentina (137 goals in 67 games) and Spain (128 in 62).

The words
“We’ve had a very clearly defined tactical set-up since the South American Championship and that’s why it was important to keep this team together. We’re going to carry on playing good football and getting results. The objective is to be the champions,” Brazil coach Ney Franco

“We have some quality players in the squad but we need to play as a team. Our priority is to reach the last 16, but something tells me we’re going to make a really good impression here,” Egypt coach El Sayed Diaa