It was the expected final at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009. It was many people's dream final for the FIFA World Cup™ one year later. Spain and Brazil didn't meet on those two occasions, but they will engage in battle in a hugely anticipated quarter-final at this FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Brazil-Spain, Pereira, 14 August, 18.00 (local time)
A Seleção and La Roja have met five times in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, with the former winning three to the latter's two. Two of those encounters came in the tournament's final, with the South Americans emerging triumphant 1-0 26 years ago, when Taffarel, Silas and Muller pocketed gold medals, and in 2003, when a team including Dani Alves and Nilmar edged one comprising Gabi and Andres Iniesta. Spain coach Julen Lopetegui sat on the bench in that 1985 defeat, and he has some key decisions to make before naming his starting XI for the quarter-final. Will Sergio Canales, Daniel Pacheco and Rodrigo, who were all substituted against Korea Republic, keep their places against Brazil, or will the 44-year-old chose to bring in Isco or Alvaro Vazquez, the tournament's four-goal joint-leading marksman? Lopetegui's Brazil counterpart Ney Franco should have less to contemplate after his side cruised to a 3-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, meaning he should unleash the talent of Philippe Coutinho and Oscar on Spain. Their presence will contribute to the certainly that there will be no shortage of talent on show. There will probably be no shortage of goals, given that both these teams have scored 11 in their four outings to date. What remains highly unpredictable is which side will stay in Pereira to face Mexico or Colombia in the semi-finals.
61.4 – The average amount of possession Spain have had thus far in Colombia.
Oscar, Brazil forward: “We'd already anticipated getting Spain in the quarters. It will be a classic, and in classics you can't mess up. It's two great sides that will meet early [in the competition]. But one will have to bow out, and I hope it's not us.”
Koke, Spain midfielder: “Spain against Brazil is a huge game, one people will really look forward to. Both sides like to play football. It would have made a great final. They have a number of match-winners in their team, but we'll focus on playing our own football rather than worrying about them.”