In reaching Papua New Guinea 2016, Brazil maintained their record of never having failed to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. That perfect attendance is founded on their total domination of the age group in South America, where they have won all seven of the region’s U-20 women’s championships held to date. However, the Brazilians have yet to achieve a similar kind of dominance at global level. Their best performance was third place at Russia 2006, and though they also reached the last four at Canada 2002 and Thailand 2004, the Brazilians failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals in their three other appearances.
Four wins – two of them by the narrowest of margins – and a draw gave Brazil top spot in Group A of the qualifying competition. Goalless stalemates against Colombia and Venezuela followed in their opening two matches of the four-team final round, leaving A Canarinha needing to beat eternal rivals Argentina to be sure of making the world finals. They achieved just that with a 3-1 win that also made it seven continental titles out of a possible seven.
Despite seeing his charges go through the qualifiers unbeaten and with the best defensive record of the finalists, coach Doriva Bueno believes they have room for improvement: “It’s very important that we prepare properly and play friendlies against teams of the same standard as we’ll find in the World Cup, which means replicating what we did in the South American Championships, where we also put in a lot of hard, physical work too. If we keep on the same track, we can do well."