Spirit of '89 spurs Rogerio

When Rogerio Lourenco discusses the pleasures and pitfalls of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, he speaks from experience. After all, the Brazil coach has sampled this tournament from the other side of the touchline, as an ever-present in the Seleção side that claimed bronze at Saudi Arabia 1989.

Succumbing to Portugal's 'golden generation' in the semi-finals might have denied him the happy ending he craved, but Rogerio's enduring esteem for FIFA's youth showpiece is apparent. Indeed, he is convinced that, just as he and team-mates such as Leonardo and Sonny Anderson emerged stronger from their Saudi sojourn, so Brazil's class of 2009 will leave Egypt ready to take on the world.

"Certainly, I have very fond memories of this tournament and I feel very fortunate to have represented Brazil in two World Cups," he said, making reference to the fact he also turned out at the 1987 FIFA U-17 World Cup. "Although I didn't win either - and, as a Brazilian, you always want to win - I still remember that U-20 tournament especially with a lot of pride and satisfaction. I loved the whole World Cup experience, and learned a lot from it, just as I'm sure my players will."

In Brazil, we have many, many talented footballers, but learning to be a team player is what makes those talented footballers truly special.
Rogerio Lourenco, Brazil coach

Though Rogerio never realised his dream of graduating to a senior FIFA World Cup, his experiences at junior events taught him of the importance of adapting to the unique rigours of tournament football. That's why he is convinced that Dunga, a fellow FIFA U-20 World Cup veteran, will be closely monitoring which of his players flourish in Egypt.

"You need a special kind of mentality and discipline to really thrive at a World Cup," he told FIFA.com. "At their clubs, players all have their own roles and different ways of working, whereas here we need them all to adapt and come together within our framework. It's a good thing for the players to learn because this will be vital if they want to go to the very top. In Brazil, we have many, many talented footballers, but learning to be a team player is what makes those talented footballers truly special."

Conscious of the intense demands of international tournaments, Rogerio is equally mindful of the fact that his players carry an additional burden. Theirs is a nation, after all, that has become synonymous with a particular brand of football and, regardless of the names on those famous yellow shirts, fans will expect skills, thrills and success from the men wearing them.

"We are always stressing to the players that there is a responsibility that comes with pulling on that shirt," he said. "But pressure is something these players are used to and, as long as the shirt is seen as an honour rather than a burden, it should be a positive thing for them.

"Brazil are a team that nearly always starts a tournament among the favourites. Actually, even one of the few times that wasn't the case - in the 1994 World Cup - we still managed to win the title! But Brazil is also a unique country because, even though we won that World Cup, the Brazilian people were not happy because the style of football did not satisfy them. So it's very clear that, to really succeed, we need to combine results with excitement and good football."

Goals and glory. Style and substance. Rogerio, like every Brazil coach, has his work cut out. One thing he cannot be accused of, however, is failing to understanding what is expected of him.