The moment of truth is fast approaching in Group B. Spain and Uzbekistan face off in Sharjah on Thursday with only one thing on their minds: snatching the three points and making it to the last 16 of the FIFA World Youth Championship UAE 2003. FIFA.com chatted with Iberian front man Sergio García ahead of the game that will decide who stays in the running and who packs their bags to go home.
"I knew he was a great player before the match, and I could see for myself on the pitch. His pace and ability caused us constant problems." The words belong to Mali keeper Soumaila Diakite, and they go some way to defining the young forward.
"I first began playing with my dad out on the street. He taught me so much, it fills me with pride to think about it," says the Spanish striker with the weird hair. "I had it cut like this because it's what's in fashion round my way. Some people say I look like Bart Simpson, but it's all water off a duck's back to me," he shrugs.
With Fernando Torres kept back by his club, García has become the prime attacking option in José Ufarte's side, no mean task with such a demanding public as the Spanish to satisfy. With his converted penalty kick against Mali, the young forward has begun to pay dividends: "It was a big weight off my mind because I knew if I didn't score, the critics would be on my back."
Of course, there is time to relax for the forward who has already made his first division debut for FC Barcelona: "We're having a pretty good time here. We organise videogame championships amongst ourselves. Winning Eleven 7 is my favourite football game, though I haven't managed to win yet," he admits. "I always choose Arsenal from the Premier League because they have great strikers. But everyone around here is really good, so I'm up against it," he says through laughter.
The next outing against Uzbekistan will decide the Spaniards' fate in the competition. Perhaps that is why García lets the smile drop from his face: "What Uzbekistan have done so far is really worth sitting up and taking notice of, they've come on a lot. But I think if we can play our quick passing game and we stay focused, we can pull it off."
Lastly, the youngster who likes to shop for clothes and go out with friends in his spare time - "the guys I've always hung around with," – reveals a secret dream: "I'd love to play against Brazil, who always produce good sides. But more than anything, I want to beat them."