Maicon expects Tico turnaround
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A goal to the good with just 120 seconds of their quarter-final tie with Brazil remaining, Germany must have thought their place in the last four of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 was in the bag, only for their hopes to evaporate at the hands of Seleção supersub Maicon.

"It was with God's help that I scored the two goals that sent Brazil into the semis," the man responsible for sinking the young Mannschaft told "After a game like that you feel absolutely amazing. You always enjoy a victory, but one like this even more so. Now we must keep our feet on the ground and focus on the semi-finals."

"Yes, at one point it did occur to me that the match was lost, but even so you can't give in and must keep believing. That's how we managed to level the score, and that goal changed the course of the game," said the Auriverde No19 who, after replacing Boquita on 77 minutes, fired his team's 88th-minute equaliser before following it up with the winner in the first minute of extra time.

"Everybody dreams of a night like this, while knowing just how difficult it is to make it come true," continued the forward. "For the first goal, once I saw that Alex's pass had eluded the defence, the only thing is my head was to get my shot off quickly and put it as far out of the keeper's reach as possible. For the second I had an inkling that the defender wasn't going to cut the ball out, that's why I didn't check my run. Then it was just about picking my spot."

It'll be a different story this time. I don't think they'll make the same mistakes again and perhaps we won't be quite as inspired as we were that day.
Maicon, Brazil forward.

Born on 18 February 1990 in Duque de Caxias, a neighbouring city of Rio de Janeiro with some 800,000 inhabitants, Maicon has come up through the youth ranks at Fluminense - one of Carioca football's most popular outfits.

"I'm always on the phone to my mates at the club and I tell them that I'd love to be there to help them," said the front-runner on Flu's current battle against relegation. "But they understand why I'm here and they want me to bring the world title back to Brazil," continued Maicon, who has played 51 times at club level, scoring six goals, since making his competitive first-team debut back in 2006.

With the U-20 crown in mind, the gifted goal-getter knows the Verdeamarelos still have plenty of work to do. "We were surprised to see Germany lining up with so many men behind the ball and we really struggled to break them down. The approach worked well for them because they frustrated us and ended up grabbing a goal on the counter-attack. So, we'll need to have a Plan B in case Costa Rica do something similar."

"It's true that we've already beaten them once," said Maicon, referring to the emphatic 5-0 defeat of Los Ticos in the pair's opening group game here at Egypt 2009. "But it'll be a different story this time. I don't think they'll make the same mistakes again and perhaps we won't be quite as inspired as we were that day. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out."

And what of the possibility that his decisive double may not be enough to earn him a starting place in 13 October's semi-final in Cairo? "I don't mind if that's the case. I just want to help out the best way I can, because squad togetherness is key to this team."

"Coach Rogerio has always made it very clear that while only 11 players can start each game, every one of the 21-man squad will have a part to play during the competition," he concluded, with typical humility. "The other day it was my turn, but it could be somebody else's now. It's all about Brazil being crowned champions once more."