Having been just one spot-kick away from winning the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009, Brazil now find themselves numb with the pain of defeat after going down 4-3 to Ghana in the decisive shoot-out. Yet just moments after missing out on the world crown in such agonising fashion, adidas Bronze Ball winner and A Seleção skipper Giuliano put his disappointment to one side for an exclusive interview with FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: How do you feel after that defeat?
Giuliano: I've got mixed feelings. On the one hand I'm pleased to have reached the final. But on the other I'm sad we didn't win the title, which was what we wanted and what we'd worked so hard for. But we leave here with our heads held high because we gave everything, we didn't hold anything back and we only lost on penalties against a great team. This will be a great experience for us all.
What more could Brazil have done?
Score a goal, as simple as that. We created a few good chances but we couldn't take them. We were up against opponents who ran their socks off, marked tightly across the pitch and who we weren't able to beat.
Did you think that Brazil had the penalty shoot-out in the bag?
There's no point dwelling on that now. The margins are so small when you lose on penalties that if you dwell on what might have been you're only being harsh on yourself or a team-mate. We did everything in our power and it didn't go our way. We've got to move on.
Were you surprised at how Ghana set out their stall?
No, because that clearly shows how strong Brazilian football is. Every one of our opponents during the tournament have set themselves up to defend solidly and try and hit us on the break. Ghana, for example, had been an attacking team throughout the competition, pushing forward non-stop and scoring loads of goals. Today, however, they changed tack. It's true that they didn't have much choice once they went a man down, and that's where we came up short in not being able to find the net.
Can Ghana be considered worthy champions?
Going on their final performance I'd say no. Brazil were the better team, had more of the ball and created the clearest chances. But if you look at what Ghana did over the competition as a whole, you'd conclude that they deserve it just as much as us because, as I said before, they always played to win and to entertain.
What does the adidas Bronze Ball mean to you?
It's a very important award, which on a personal level makes me very happy. I see it as recognition of the fact that I helped my team reach the final of this World Cup. It's a trophy that I'll always keep close by and one that will help me remember this tournament for the rest of my life.
How hard is it to wear the Brazil No10 shirt?
It's not easy, that's for sure, but I wear it with pride. I think that I'd have done my bit for the team, whatever number I was wearing.
What does the future hold for this crop of Brazilian players?
It's very bright. This tournament has helped us grow as both players and people. I've no doubt that we'll all make our way in this profession.