Tag Archives: Brazil 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20

Brazil – Top Talents at the 2017 Under-20 South American Youth Championship

The 2017 Under-20 South American Youth Championship took place in Ecuador from 18 January until 11 February. @DarrenSpherical watched all 35 games, writing reports for each encounter that detailed all the significant moments by the most talented players that were spotted. This article focuses on the most notable starlets found in the ranks of Brazil, who progressed in 3rd from Group A but finished 5th in the final group stage (also known as the Hexagonal) and thus will not be going to the Under-20 World Cup. Before browsing below, it may be advisable to have a look at the final standings, results and goalscorers here and/or read the main reference guide published on this website, which features details on dozens of players, with every one of the ten participating nations represented. 

(All photographs are credited to GettyImages)

brazilflag Brazil 

Tournament Summary

In the opening group stage, Brazil may not have emerged head and shoulders above their opponents but they did still manage to advance with a game to spare. However, those with doubts were vindicated in the Hexagonal as they were defeated by Uruguay and held to three draws – the last one against Colombia denying them a place at the Under-20 World Cup. Nevertheless, though Brazil may not have set the tournament alight, overall it can’t be ignored that they finished only one point behind three of the teams who did qualify. Collectively unremarkable maybe, but they are not without talented individuals – though whether they can help revive the reputation of the Seleção on the grandest stage is another matter.

To view highlights as well as read more about how Brazil got on and who stood out in each game, click here

Top Two Talents

richarlison

Richarlison (Attacking-midfielder, No. 18, Fluminense)

Partly due to their unconvincing performances relative to the high standards expected of them rather than an abundance of talent complicating a final decision, there are at least several contenders for Brazil’s most notable individual. Nevertheless, owing as much to his displays as his perceived potential, attacking-midfielder/forward Richarlison has been chosen as their most impressive offence-minded player.

He was a frequent threat, particularly from the left as he showed off some neat footwork to set him free to either play in team-mates or try his luck at the target himself. Though a cold reading of his statistics will state that he only scored twice and assisted once, he did also hit the woodwork a couple of times, come close with at least one effort and provided opportunities for others who perhaps should have done better. Indeed, the lack of cohesion and consistent on-field team-mates possibly also hampered him. Still, excuses aside, with a fine first-time low cross he set up Felipe Vizeu’s goal in the opening 1-0 win against Ecuador. The 3-2 win against Paraguay yielded the first of his goals, as a route one move was headed on for him to slide home; his second came in the penultimate Hexagonal encounter with Argentina when, upon receiving a floated ball, he was able to direct home an effort – at the second bite of the cherry – to give his side an early lead.

During the competition, Ajax reportedly had a considerable bid of approximately €9 million turned down for Richarlison – his club Fluminense supposedly believe he’s worth more. Having already played over 50 professional club games and, just this weekend gone (18 February), returned from the competition to score twice in a 3-0 win, they may well be right.

lyanco

Lyanco (Centre-back, No. 4, São Paulo)

Lyanco Evangelista Silveira Neves Vojnović to give him his full name. Possessing some less common heritage from the Old Continent, this well-built centre-back was actually representing Serbia at Under-19 level less than a year ago and who can say for certain with whom – if anyone – his senior international career will be. Indeed, it’s not too late to revert back to his grandfather’s country but if the Seleção anticipate requiring more help to shore up their defensive line, it may be advisable to soon try nailing this man’s colours to the mast.

It’s debatable, but he didn’t seem to bear any glaring, direct responsibility for the nine goals his side conceded – only six of which occurred when he was on the pitch, two of these being penalties. In Brazil’s Hexagonal stage encounter with Uruguay, their opponents may have scored their winner soon after he was red-carded, but his second yellow was largely due to the strain of having to cover extra ground, what with his side already playing with ten men at that point. In all, he was the most prominent Brazilian defender and deserves credit for his role in his side’s relatively decent defensive record (just one more goal let in than winners Uruguay).

Doing so more often than the average centre-back, he was also notable for coming forward from time to time. Indeed, perhaps his most memorable contribution was a superb diagonal ball to Richarlison to then set up the winner in the opener against Ecuador; he also had the ball in the back of the net against Argentina but this was ruled out.

One of his defensive colleagues, Gabriel (No. 14, Lille), secured a move to Ligue 1 during the tournament but Lyanco’s prospects are anticipated to be grander. Indeed, amongst others, Atlético Madrid are reportedly interested but Juventus appear to be the front-runners for the São Paulo man, who possesses over 20 games of domestic experience.

brazilflag More Brazilian Talents

If Felipe Vizeu (No. 9, Flamengo) lodges a complaint for not being listed as one of this site’s top two Brazilians, his grievances will receive some sympathy from the writer who omitted him and who will also struggle to give him an adequate explanation. Basically, he’s guilty of not being the Second Coming of Pelé – nor Ronaldo or Romário for that matter. Harsh criteria, certainly, but with Brazil’s history and, Neymar aside, less-than-remarkable recent production of goalscorers (compared with those of Argentina, at least), one can not help but be wary.

Being over six feet tall as well as more physical and less versatile in his approach than the aforementioned Barcelona striker and new-kid-on-the-block Gabriel Jesus, he is, in any case, a rather different type of attacker. Perhaps the memory of Fred is just much too fresh and Vizeu is instead precisely the kind of complementary forward figure the senior side could do with. Who knows at this stage, though to give him his due he did have many noteworthy moments in this tournament.

Indeed, he was his side’s top-scorer with four goals. His first was a clinical finish from Richarlison’s cross to win the opening game against Ecuador; his second, a tap-in against Paraguay, was less to write home about but he did also get an assist in this game by heading on a goalkeeper’s clearance for Richarlison’s goal. His third, the last-minute Hexagonal stage winner against Venezuela, was a fantastically powerful 25-yard drive from outside the area that whistled past Wuilker Faríñez; his last, in the following game against Argentina, was a penalty.

With a ratio of one goal in every two games he played, combined with his Flamengo club record of one in three (albeit with his inexperienced legs not lasting the full 90 minutes in nearly half the games), he is certainly one to keep an eye on. Despite some wariness, one would not bet against him gradually making a name for himself, whether that it be in the relatively strong Brasileirão or in a superior league.


For slightly different reasons, one wouldn’t be surprised to receive some mockery from some – probably Dutch – fans of jinking attacker David Neres (No. 11, Ajax) for not naming him as one of Brazil’s top two. However, his omission is not due to a lack of perceived talent but instead because, in terms of goals and assists – zero of the former, one (maybe two at a stretch) of the latter from seven starts and two sub appearances – his contribution wasn’t as substantial as his reported value would lead non-observers to imagine. Indeed, during the tournament he was bought from São Paulo by Ajax for comfortably the highest fee any player in the competition has moved for: €12 million, which could rise to €15 million.

That said, this writer wouldn’t be surprised if he were to become the most prominent Brazilian of the crop as, despite his key statistics, he was often his side’s most eye-catching player. Indeed, in at least a couple of the Group A games, his propensity to dribble and force keepers into parries with strikes from distance often added some much needed urgency, pressure and excitement. His best game was undoubtedly the first Hexagonal stage match against Ecuador, which occurred on the day that it was announced that his move to Ajax would be going through; no doubt emboldened by this, he was impossible to ignore, jinking with the ball, displaying some trickery and coming close with at least four impressive efforts: one of these was parried by the goalkeeper with a team-mate netting the rebound. His official assist came in the following game against Uruguay when, from a central position, he showed some brilliant vision to exquisitely find a colleague in the area, who finished off for the opening goal.

There was, however, one sour note, which came towards the end of the subsequent match against Venezuela when he clearly struck an opponent, causing him to bleed; somehow, he went unpunished for this moment of petulance. One wonders what his new owners made of this. Nevertheless, despite not really playing an integral role for Brazil here, he did display ample raw talent to suggest that, if he adapts to the right system, he could well become a quality top-level player.


The two goals Neres had a role in were both scored by the same man: left-back Guilherme Arana (No. 6, Corinthians). The first against Ecuador was a rebound but the second against Uruguay involved the defender making a fine run into the area before receiving an incisive ball, controlling and finishing off the job. Given that four of his six appearances occurred in the Hexagonal stage it’s not too much of a surprise that was when he first came to attention, not only with his goals but several testing crosses and shots from the flank. Although one perhaps shouldn’t read too much into this he nevertheless appeared solid at the back and, perhaps more so than Lyanco, can’t really be faulted for any of the goals conceded. He currently plays regularly for Corinthians and while he may not be Roberto Carlos, he was nevertheless one of the better left-backs in the competition.


One player who potentially has a big future but who may have gone under the radar a little during this tournament is holding midfielder and captain Caio Henrique (No. 7, Atlético Madrid). Without any particularly successful results, he was often on set-piece duties, but it was more his defensive role for which he was employed. Indeed, he occupied perhaps not the most conspicuous of positions, but he nevertheless carried it off with a certain confidence and class, often appearing to drift back alongside the defenders to clean up as well as start attacks. A year ago, he left Santos without playing a first-team game to sign for Atlético Madrid and has featured once in a Copa Del Rey match in November. He has clearly impressed Diego Simeone as just this Saturday gone (18 February), he was called into a first-team squad for first ever time for the league match with Sporting Gijón, where he watched on from the bench.


Otherwise, one recalls two years ago when Brazil were roundly criticised after scraping through in fourth place but then went on – admittedly with some personnel changes – to finish runners-up at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup. Thus, one can not help but feel that some individuals in this Brazil side may be capable of more than they were able to display during this tournament. The above-mentioned players were the best performers, but if anyone else is to prosper to a notable degree, it may be worth keeping an eye out for the following: right-back Dodô (No. 2, Coritiba), attacker Matheus Sávio (No. 20, Flamengo) and central midfielder Maycon (No. 17, Corinthians). Finally, though he barely did anything of note owing to his solitary start and three brief substitute appearances, Allan (No. 5, Hertha BSC, Germany, on loan from Liverpool, England) has actually made eight Bundesliga appearances this season, so can not be completely discounted.


If you would like to read about the best talents from the other nations, then click on the following links: UruguayEcuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia The Best of the Early Departees (Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia & Peru). All of this information is also contained in this mammoth Reference Guide.  

Darren Spherical

@DarrenSpherical

Colombia 0-0 Brazil (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 5, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 11 February 2017)

The second game which took place on the final Hexagonal Matchday of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw Colombia face Brazil, with the latter needing a win to progress to the World Cup. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 

hexagonalendddd

(Source: Wikipedia)

Colombia 0-0 Brazil

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 11 February 2017 (YouTube)

Perhaps it was their fitness levels, perhaps it was their lack of teamwork and/or ability, but whatever it was, Brazil did not have enough of it and thus will not be going to the Under-20 World Cup. With just one point in four games, Colombia – who rested some notable players – appeared to be there for the taking, but Brazil were unable to find a way through and, despite some first-half attempts, seemed almost resigned to their fate from a relatively premature stage. Overall, the closest they came to a goal was a first-half header from Richarlison in space, which was well-blocked by Colombian goalkeeper Luis García. Their opponents may not have offered much going forward but they didn’t need to and thus Brazil will not be attending the tournament that they have won five times in the past.

Talent Spotting

colombia Colombia

With Juan ‘El Cucho’ Hernández (No. 10, América de Cali, on loan from Granada, Spain) and Ever Valencia (No. 13, Atlético Bucaramanga) starting on the bench, it was evident from the start that there was not likely to be many forward forays from the already eliminated side. Instead, it proved to be a rare moment for the defence to shine and frustrate as, with perhaps the exception of one or two chances, they rarely allowed Brazil a good sight of goal. Given that they had already beaten their opponents 1-0 in the first group stage, perhaps more people should have seen this result coming.

The handful of times that they knocked the ball vaguely in the direction of the opposition goal were largely the result of long range shots from the likes of substitute Hernández and a couple from Julián Quiñones (No. 7, Tigres, Mexico). Their best chance came in the 43rd minute when a decent quick-paced move ended with a nudge into the path of Jorge Obregón (No. 19, Unión Magdalena) just inside the area, though his poked effort was easy for the goalkeeper to stop.

That was all that they had to say for themselves. One can not help but feel that their campaign would have turned out quite differently had striker Damir Ceter (two goals in two games) not been injured early on in the tournament, as they undoubtedly have some talented supporting attackers in their squad.

brazilflag Brazil

They needed to win and, though with less intensity than Argentina against Venezuela, they did go for it in the first half, but ultimately came across as a tad toothless. These opportunities were the closest that they came to scoring:

In the 11th minute, Felipe Vizeu (No. 9, Flamengo) burst into the area along the left byline and shot from a tight angle, though this was blocked out by the goalkeeper. Five minutes later, left-back Guilherme Arana (No. 6, Corinthians) put in a wicked cross from his flank which begged for a touch but evaded those in the centre. Not long afterwards in the 21st minute, Richarlison (No. 18, Fluminense) passed the ball towards the dee where Lucas Paqueta (No. 10, Flamengo) struck a shot with intent, though it went at the goalkeeper. The 28th minute yielded Brazil’s best opportunity to score when Dodô (No. 2, Coritiba) crossed in from the right towards the back post where he found Richarlison in space, but his header was well-saved. Seven minutes later, Dodô put in another good ball from his flank and Richarlison again went to attack it but this time a defender narrowly beat him to the ball and headed out. Lastly, Brazil’s final attacking moment of actual note came as early as the 58th minute when, on the left and seemingly set to cross, Arana instead shot, catching the goalkeeper by surprise who had to punch out from virtually underneath his crossbar.

Alas, though it was a somewhat meek departure with a far-from-vintage crop of players, they did ultimately only miss out on qualification by a mere point and do nevertheless possess several individuals one expects to see more of in upcoming years. Whether or not they become regular fixtures of the senior side is another matter, but there has been plenty of evidence over the past 25 days to suggest that, on average, their players may enjoy more successful club careers than most of the rivals they faced.

The two other games played on the fifth and final Hexagonal Matchday were Argentina vs Venezuela and Ecuador vs Uruguay – talent-spotting articles have also been published for these two encounters. 

Otherwise, to keep track with the careers of these and many other talented South Americans, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical

@DarrenSpherical

Brazil 2-2 Argentina (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 4, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 8 February 2017)

The third and final game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 4 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw Brazil face Argentina. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 

hexagonal8217

(Source: Wikipedia)

Brazil 2-2 Argentina

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 8 February 2017 (YouTube)

With less than ten seconds left of stoppage-time, Argentina equalised to keep their hopes of World Cup qualification alive, but this draw nevertheless leaves them with only an outside possibility of gaining the fourth and final spot for South Korea 2017. They went behind after 10 minutes when Richarlison controlled a long ball in the area and, at the second bite of the cherry, directed a shot into the back of the net. Argentina were on level terms in the 26th minute when a corner was knocked into the path of Brian Mansilla, who instinctively found the back of the net. In the second half, Brazil won a penalty which, after some delay, Felipe Vizeu converted in the 66th minute. However, with elimination seeming on the cards, Los Pibes slightly stepped up their game though still looked like they were doomed until the 95th minute when Tomás Conechny knocked in a cross that Lautaro Martínez nodded home. Thus, Brazil, with five points, will have to wait and hope that they can see off Colombia on Saturday before confirming their qualification, though this is nevertheless a superior position to be in than Argentina, who will have to beat Venezuela and, most likely, hope other results (such as a Colombian win/draw) go their way.

Talent Spotting

brazilflag Brazil

It was not really a game in which any individual talent repeatedly stood out, so what follows instead is a list of key opportunities, including the goals. Some players may not have had more than one moment of note, but avid watchers of this tournament will know that this is far from the first time that certain individuals have created a good chance or scored. What’s that cliché about how ‘you don’t notice him all match and then he goes and does something like that…’?

Brazil’s opening goal came in the 10th minute when a sublime pinpoint ball was played forward from the centre-circle by Maycon (No. 17, Corinthians) who found Richarlison (No. 18, Fluminense); at the second attempt whilst down on the turf, the latter was able to guide the ball low into the corner to make it 1-0 and gain his second goal of the tournament. Eight minutes later, Matheus Sávio (No. 20, Flamengo) curled in a free-kick from the left with his right that Léo Santos (No. 15, Corinthians) headed onto the crossbar; subsequently, another ball was put in from the right which Santos headed on and Lyanco (No. 4, São Paulo) knocked into the back of the net, but alas, the flag had been raised. In the 39th minute, Richarlison twist-and-turned on the left just outside the area before hitting a right-footed effort wide of the mark. Then, three minutes later, Richarlison returned a pass to Guilherme Arana (No. 6, Corinthians) who bombed into the area by the left byline before putting in a dangerous low cross, though nobody could connect with it.

Into the second half, left-back Arana – who has two goals in this tournament – came forward into the area again in the 56th minute, though his well-hit shot went just wide of the far post. However, despite not really putting their opponents under too much pressure, Brazil were granted an opportunity to regain their lead in the 66th minute; following a tug in the area, Felipe Vizeu (No. 9, Flamengo) stepped up to convert a penalty to make it 2-1 and gain his fourth goal of the competition.

Otherwise, Brazil didn’t create a great deal else and while they largely dealt with the relatively mild Argentine pressure, they ultimately fell short. Nevertheless, win on Saturday against Colombia – who may be bottom but did actually beat Brazil in the first stage – or at least match Argentina’s result and they will be through.

argentinaflag Argentina

As with Brazil, there certainly wasn’t anyone running the show for Argentina, though those involved with the goals were nevertheless some of their best players of the tournament. Thus, what follows are details on their best opportunities, including the two that they put away.

In the 16th minute, Juan Foyth (No. 13, Estudiantes de La Plata) hit a strike with his left boot from 25 yards, which the goalkeeper had to parry before gathering, though in truth it wasn’t too challenging. Nine minutes later, Brian Mansilla (No. 11, Racing Club) created a better opportunity when he got past a player on the right before poking in a ball with the outside of his left boot, which a Brazilian defender deflected just over his own bar. Then, from the subsequent corner taken by Lucas Rodríguez (No. 7, Estudiantes de La Plata), Cristian Romero (No. 2, Belgrano) headed it on and Mansilla stuck out his leg to knock the ball home to make it 1-1. In the 32nd minute, Tomás Belmonte (No. 17, Lanús) picked up a ball on the edge of the area before firing over on the turn and three minutes later from long range, Mansilla whacked an effort that went wide but caused a minor scare. However, a far more substantial chance came in the 43rd minute when Rodríguez raced up the right in space and crossed it for Mansilla; it seemed like a textbook breakaway goal was about to be scored but alas, his volley went marginally wide of the post.

Into the second half, Argentina really looked like they were heading out after going 2-1 down, creating hardly anything until the 72nd minute. Indeed, at this point, substitute Tomás Conechny (No. 20, San Lorenzo) received a chipped ball from fellow substitute Ezequiel Barco (No. 10, Independiente) though his shot from the left of the area was blocked for a corner, which Conechny himself crossed over everyone to the other side. 11 minutes later, Milton Valenzuela (No. 3, Newell’s Old Boys) looked like he was about to put in a cross from the left edge of the area though his ball, probably unintentionally, instead went just over, hitting the roof of the net. Then a couple of minutes later, the other substitute Ramón Mierez (No. 22, Tigre) was on the receiving end of two knock-ons from corners but couldn’t get a good connection on either.

However, in the 95th minute, not long after Conechny sliced a shot and all seemed lost, the same man was able to put in a fine left-footed cross from the left which found the head of Lautaro Martínez (No. 9, Racing Club) who headed home his third tournament goal to ensure his country fights to the last day.

However, even if they beat Venezuela, the odds, other matches and their goal difference are all very much stacked against them. If they make it to South Korea in May, they’ll need to either admonish a savage beating and/or hope at least one of the other games very much goes their way – frankly, whilst they can not be counted out, one does not fancy their chances.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 4 were Ecuador vs Colombia and Uruguay vs Venezuela – talent-spotting articles have also been published for these matches.

Otherwise, the fifth and final Matchday of the Hexagonal will be on 11 February 2017 and the games shall be Argentina vs Venezuela, Colombia vs Brazil and Ecuador vs Uruguay – expect to see one last bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical

@DarrenSpherical

Brazil 1-0 Venezuela (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 3, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 5 February 2017)

The first game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 3 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw Brazil play Venezuela. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 

group5217

(Source: Wikipedia)

Brazil 1-0 Venezuela

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 5 February 2017 (YouTube)

A game that was heading towards a 0-0 draw was enlivened by a last-minute golazo and some subsequent, contentious events. Indeed, it was a somewhat lethargic game of few chances, with the closest to a goal in the first half being Brazil’s Richarlison heading a 19th-minute corner onto the crossbar. In the second period, it was Venezuela’s turn to hit the woodwork, as Yangel Herrera struck a low 30-yard effort in the 68th minute against the post. However, with a goalless draw long seeming likely, Felipe Vizeu had other ideas as he picked up the ball and then thunderously struck home into the top corner from 25 yards out. It was a great goal, though some claim there was a foul in the build-up and not long afterwards, tempers began to flare. Indeed, Brazil’s David Neres clearly punched Josua Mejías, though this went unpunished with instead Venezuela’s Heber García soon receiving his marching orders. After the final whistle, presumably for his protestations, left-back Eduin Quero was also given a red card and manager Rafael Dudamel was seen fuming, as the match officials required protection from the heavily-shielded police.

Talent Spotting

brazilflag Brazil

Felipe Vizeu (No. 9, Flamengo) won Brazil the game with an 89th-minute golazo. Centrally, he gained space from Herrera (by illegal means, according to Tim Vickery) before lashing the ball into the top corner from 25 yards. Previously in the 80th minute, Vizeu had managed to squeeze in a low shot that was comfortably saved and in the 55th minute, he chased a good through-ball from the inside-left, though the goalkeeper got out just about in time to clear.

The person who came close to playing him in here was Richarlison (No. 18, Fluminense), who had Brazil’s best other chance, heading the 19th-minute corner of Matheus Sávio (No. 20, Flamengo) straight against the bar.

Otherwise, the game was hardly choc-a-bloc with chances, with the best other two opportunities Brazil could muster barely worthy of a mention: After 23 minutes, a left-sided cross found Gabriel (No. 14, Lille, France) but his header went hopelessly wide and in the 65th minute, a free-kick from Maycon (No. 17, Corinthians) went over the wall but also safely into the goalkeeper’s hands.

Lastly, David Neres (No. 11, Ajax) was less of a jinking, attacking threat in this game, with his most memorable contribution instead being a late punch that gave Josua Mejías a nosebleed. This went unpunished, with Venezuelans instead soon getting in trouble with the referee, though one wonders what Neres’ new owners Ajax made of this behaviour from their €15 million acquisition.

venezuelaflag Venezuela

Venezuela were perhaps also suffering from some mid-Hexagonal fatigue, though their defence maintained their impressive form and they had looked on course for a very useful point that would have bolstered their qualification hopes for the Under-20 World Cup.

Though neither gave vintage performances, Yeferson Soteldo (No. 10, Huachipato, Chile) and Yangel Herrera (No. 8, Manchester City) again showed glimpses of why they are Venezuela’s most highly-rated outfield players. However, as nobody really stood head and shoulders above their team-mates, what follows instead is a list of their team’s best chances:

After five minutes, Soteldo curled in a free-kick from the right that Herrera glanced a header from, though this went straight to the goalkeeper. A couple of minutes later, Soteldo did well on the left to gain some space before sliding a good ball over to the right inside the area; from here, Sergio Córdova (No. 23, Caracas FC) struck a low effort that deflected to the goalkeeper. Seven minutes later, Ronaldo Peña (No. 9, Las Palmas, Spain) impressively beat Gabriel for pace on the right, before rolling the ball to Ronaldo Chacón (No. 11, Caracas FC); from a central position, side-on from the goal, he struck a decent shot, though it was directly at the goalkeeper. Much later in the 68th minute came Venezuela’s best chance when Herrera picked up the ball some 30 yards out and struck a fine, low, right-footed effort that hit the base of the post before rolling across the goalmouth. Lastly, in the fifth minute of stoppage-time, the boys in burgundy had one last throw of the dice when Soteldo’s free-kick was headed out to a central position 30 yards out; from here, right-back Ronald Hernández (No. 20, Zamora FC) struck a low, testing drive with the outside of his right boot which only went about a yard wide.

Alas, they could not find a way through and succumbed to their first defeat of the tournament. As much as they were right to feel aggrieved about some refereeing decisions, one wonders if the looming first loss also caused some tempers to boil and led to the red cards to Heber García (No. 14, Sud América, Uruguay) and Eduin Quero (No. 3, Deportivo Táchira) – not to mention the post-match fury of manager Rafael Dudamel.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 3 were Uruguay vs Colombia and Ecuador vs Argentina – talent-spotting articles have now been published for both of these matches. 

Otherwise, Matchday 4 of the Hexagonal will be on 8 February 2017 and the games shall be Ecuador vs Colombia, Uruguay vs Venezuela and Brazil vs Argentina – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical

@DarrenSpherical

Uruguay 2-1 Brazil (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 2, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 2 February 2017)

The second game which took place on Hexagonal Matchday 2 of the 2017 U-20 South American Youth Championship saw Uruguay face Brazil. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 

groupstage020217

(Source: Wikipedia)

Uruguay 2-1 Brazil

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 2 February 2017 (YouTube)

With a stoppage-time winner, Uruguay came from behind to beat Brazil to become the only side in the Hexagonal left with a 100 per cent record. Things had looked quite positive for their opponents in the 23rd minute when a David Neres pass found Guilherme Arana, who slid home past the goalkeeper for the lead. However, Uruguay got back into the match and were to have the majority of the chances; when they did find an equaliser, it came on the hour courtesy of a phenomenal long-range golazo from Rodrigo Amaral. Subsequently, Uruguay searched for the winner and were aided by two Brazil defenders getting sent off: Lucas Cunha in 67th minute and Lyanco in the 90th. Not too long after the second one, Facundo Waller hoisted a ball back upfield which Matías Viña managed to beat the goalkeeper to and dramatically win the game for Uruguay, who sit rather pretty atop the Hexagonal with six points.

Talent Spotting

uruguayflag Uruguay

Once again, praise can be heaped upon Rodrigo Amaral (No. 10, Nacional, Uruguay), who not only scored again but was more involved than he was against Argentina. In the 15th minute, he played through Nicolás Schiappacasse (No. 9, Atlético Madrid) into the area, though the latter’s shot from a slight angle was blocked out. Another chance was to be created from the subsequent corner as this was played in by Amaral and headed by defender Agustín Rogel (No. 18, Nacional) against the top of the crossbar. However, if you want something done properly, then sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself, as Amaral spectacularly demonstrated in the 60th minute to get Uruguay level. After Schiappacasse headed on a pass centrally some 30 yards out, Amaral quickly put the ball onto his left and let rip with a sensational golazo that went in off the far post – he is again joint top-scorer on five goals with Argentina’s Marcelo Torres. This goal didn’t stop him trying to get his team-mates on the scoresheet, however, as in the 70th minute his free-kick found the head of Rodrigo Bentancur (No. 20, Boca Juniors, Argentina), but alas, his effort went wide. Eight minutes later, perhaps a better chance was provided when he slid the ball to Schiappacasse on the left inside the area; the goalkeeper came out and the striker managed the squeeze the ball past him in to the middle, but unfortunately for the Uruguay striker, a defender’s block directed the ball back to the goalkeeper.

Nicolás De La Cruz (No. 11, Liverpool, Uruguay) was another man who wasn’t short of attempts to both score and gain an assist. His first effort came in the 11th minute when, from the left about 15 yards from the byline, he tried to curl an impossible right-footed shot; to his credit, he got a fair bit of power on it as it dipped awkwardly for the goalkeeper, who tipped over. In the 33rd minute, he controlled a ball on the edge of the area but his shot, always rising, went over. Ten minutes later, Schiappacasse nabbed the ball just outside the area and gave it to De La Cruz who, from the edge of the dee, curled a left-footed shot low that the goalkeeper saved. Much later in the 67th minute immediately after Brazil had suffered their first dismissal, De La Cruz took the subsequent free-kick from an inside-right position just outside the area; he managed to get a wicked bend on it with his right foot, causing the goalkeeper to tip over. Seven minutes later, José Rodríguez (No. 4, Danubio) on the right played a ball towards the area that deflected back to De La Cruz on the edge who whacked a left-footed effort that went not too far over. The last chance of note De La Cruz had was also the one with which he came closest; indeed, in the 86th minute, he won a free-kick about 22 yards out on the inside-right and managed to hit a right-footed effort that came back off the near post.

One other, lesser moment involving De La Cruz was the good work he did in the 75th minute shrugging off a challenge then passing on the edge of the area to a team-mate who had a low shot comfortably saved. This compatriot was Facundo Waller (No. 15, Plaza Colonia) who, once again, made some less ostentatious but all-the-same vital contributions. In the 71st minute he struck an audacious effort from 35 yards that dipped tantalisingly, though ultimately down into the roof of the net. However, in stoppage-time he truly came up with some goods as, from the halfway line, he hoisted the ball back to the edge of the area, which found Matías Viña (No. 17, Nacional). Profiting from a dreadfully out-of-place goalkeeper, Viña was able to easily slide home for the win and cause pandemonium amongst his team-mates, both on the pitch and at the sidelines.

brazilflag Brazil

New Ajax-signing David Neres (No. 11, Ajax) had a couple of moments of note. The first one occurred after nine minutes when a team-mate outjumped the Uruguayan goalkeeper to a chipped ball and it fell to Neres who controlled with his upper body before volleying wildly over, when there was only really a defender in his way. However, he made up for this some 15 minutes later when, from a central position, he played a fine left-footed through-ball that Guilherme Arana (No. 6, Corinthians) latched onto and then stroked home to give Brazil the lead. This was the second consecutive game in which Arana scored with Neres playing a role in his goal.

Compared to Uruguay though, Brazil barely had any other chances worth mentioning, with perhaps one minor exception being a 79th minute pass from Lucas Paqueta (No. 10, Flamengo) to Léo Jabá (No. 19, Corinthians) in the area, though his shot from an angle on the right went into the side-netting.

Otherwise, Brazil will be concerned that they will be going into their next game without two of their regular defenders, following the red cards to Lucas Cunha (No. 3, Braga, Portugal) and Lyanco (No. 4, São Paulo). Another worry will be the goalkeeping position, as the usual first-choice Caíque was dropped, presumably for some shaky moments in the preceding game as well as during some others. However, his replacement Lucas Perri (No. 1, São Paulo) was surely to blame for the Uruguay equaliser, as he was hopelessly out of position when Waller’s ball was pumped up to the edge of his area. Thus, a decision has to be made.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 2 were Colombia vs Argentina and Ecuador vs Venezuela – talent-spotting articles have now been published for both of these matches.

Otherwise, Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal will be on 5 February 2017 and the games shall be Brazil vs Venezuela, Uruguay vs Colombia and Ecuador vs Argentina – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical

@DarrenSpherical

Ecuador 2-2 Brazil (Hexagonal Group Stage, Matchday 1, 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20, 30 January 2017)

With six teams having qualified from the initial group stage, the Final Phase – also known as the Hexagonal – of the 2017 edition of the U-20 South American Youth Championship is now under way. The third and final game which took place on Matchday 1 saw hosts Ecuador face Brazil, as they also had done on the opening day of the tournament. Below are video highlights, a brief summary of the game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting… 

30117grouo

(Source: Wikipedia)

 

Ecuador 2-2 Brazil

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Hexagonal Group Stage, 30 January 2017 (YouTube)

Due to their own carelessness, Brazil threw away a two-goal lead and could well have ended up on the wrong side of a reversal in Quito. In a ground far less full than usual for the hosts, Ecuador did actually come out of the blocks with intent and could well have been a couple of goals up in the opening several minutes themselves. However, Brazil soon dampened the home expectations when they went ahead in the 15th minute as Guilherme Arana blasted in a rebound. Ten minutes later, immediately after having a header cleared off the line, Brazil made their second bite of the cherry count as Matheus Sávio crossed low for Maycon to confidently strike home. Ecuador did respond with some chances of their own but they nevertheless went in at the break two-down and, in the 23 minutes that followed the restart, it was Brazil who looked more likely to get a third goal of the game. That is, until they conceded a completely unnecessary penalty which Renny Jaramillo stepped up to convert in the 70th minute. Subsequently, Brazil continued their implosion by gifting another ridiculous penalty and this time, in the 78th minute, it was Pervis Estupiñán who confidently dispatched it. Thus, it ended all even, though Ecuador arguably could have won it had another late penalty shout been awarded and/or another late chance converted.

Talent Spotting

ecuadorflag Ecuador

Pervis Estupiñán (No. 6, Granada, Spain) had quite a game, amongst other things clearing the ball off his own goal-line, having a hand in the winning of the first penalty, clearing the ball off his own goal-line for a second time and then, finally, scoring the second penalty. Indeed, regarding his clearances, even if they were both due to him being in the right place at the right time, they nevertheless seem to be a semi-regular feature of this tournament. The first one here in the 25th minute, however, was of debatable value as though he stopped one header from trespassing over the line, barely ten seconds later, he watched on as the ball was crossed back in and knocked home for the second Brazil goal. Nevertheless, even if he was powerless here, he certainly helped his side recover in the second half. Indeed, in the 68th minute, it was his great, incisive long ball from the left which Herlin Lino (No. 9, Barcelona SC, Ecuador) latched onto and was able to draw a wild foul from the Brazil goalkeeper Caíque to win the first penalty. For this, Renny Jaramillo (No. 14, Independiente Del Valle) stepped up and found the back of the net. Six minutes later, Estupiñán was back to contributing at his own end, clearing a Gabriel header off the line. Then, barely 30 seconds after this, Gabriel went from potential hero to actual villain by fouling Lino for a second Ecuador penalty. This time, it was Estupiñán who took on the responsibility and, with consummate coolness, put his nation on level terms with his spot-kick.

The eagle-eyed will have noted that Lino was therefore directly responsible for winning both penalties. Some fans even believe that he should have gained another for his country in the 83rd minute when he was cynically fouled by Luiz with his feet arguably just inside the area, but alas, a free-kick was instead awarded.

Returning to the first-half, Lino did cause some discomfort when a low 28th-minute cross was deflected off an opponent and had to be saved with Caíque’s outstretched leg. However, Ecuador had far better opportunities to score early on and had they done so, the game could have had a very different complexion.

Indeed, within just 15 seconds, Washington Corozo (No. 7, Independiente Del Valle) fired in a ball from the right which goalkeeper Caíque haplessly flung himself at and missed; Bryan Cabezas (No. 10, Atalanta, Italy) managed to make a connection, but his effort hit the post and then rolled along the goalmouth before a scrambled clearance just about ensured that an early Brazilian disaster was averted. However, four minutes later, Ecuador had a second good opportunity when, having moved in centrally from the left, Corozo slid a finely-weighted ball to Joao Rojas (No. 17, Emelec); from a slight angle on the right of the area, the latter struck a decent low shot that Caíque had to stop with his legs.

Otherwise, Ecuador had a couple of other moments of minor note, such as in the 37th minute when Lino slid but agonisingly missed a well-struck low Cabezas cross and, later in the 55th minute, a header from a Cabezas corner that was easily collected.

It was substitute Jordy Caicedo (No. 19, Universidad Católica, Ecuador) who softly headed this half-chance and he was actually to have a more substantial opportunity to score at the death. Indeed, a fine, incisive midfield pass found him just inside the area but alas, with a defender on his case, he was only able to squeeze a limp effort through which the goalkeeper gratefully stopped with ease.

brazilflag Brazil

Perhaps it was the news that his move to Ajax has been given the green light that caused David Neres (No. 11, Ajax) to play as if he were dancing on cloud nine. Indeed, far more so than in any other match at this tournament, he displayed enormous confidence on the ball, some fancy footwork and a real keenness to shoot. He first got going in the 12th minute, when he received a pass from Lyanco (No. 4, São Paulo) on the inside-right and drove a left-footed shot with intent that the Ecuador goalkeeper Cevallos just about got his body behind. Three minutes later, he did well to evade a challenge then whack a low, powerful strike from just outside the area; Cevallos could only parry this out for Guilherme Arana (No. 6, Corinthians) to blast home the rebound to make it 1-0. Then, just a minute before half time, he marched forward, put the ball onto his left and, from a centre-left position, forced Cevallos to parry low his 25-yard drive. In the second half, there were at least several instances of his ball-skills and ability to creatively take on opponents, the most impressive of these occurring in the 62nd minute. Indeed, here he received a pass on the inside-right and then brilliantly took the ball past Cabezas into the area before striking with intent; alas, his shot went narrowly wide and he was denied a memorable goal.

Brazil’s second goal in the 25th minute came mere moments after they had almost scored and the provider of both of these opportunities was the same man, Matheus Sávio (No. 20, Flamengo). His initial corner was headed in the centre but cleared off the line before the ball found its way back to him on the right; from here, he fired in a low ball that Maycon (No. 17, Corinthians) clinically struck home.

Otherwise, aside from the 76th-minute header from Gabriel (No. 14, Avaí, soon-to-be Lille, France) that was cleared off the line, Brazil didn’t create too many other chances of note, but then again, shouldn’t really have needed to. Indeed, their inability to win was down to two clumsy challenges for the penalties, the first by goalkeeper Caíque (No. 23, Vitória) (who had several dodgy moments, which caused certain commentators to label him ‘Loco Caíque’) and the second by Gabriel (immediately after he had nearly scored). As noted, they were fortunate that the referee deemed the 83rd-minute foul of Douglas Luiz (No. 8, Vasco da Gama) to have been outside of the area, as otherwise they would have succumbed to a defeat of uniquely farcical proportions.

The two other games played on Hexagonal Matchday 1 were Colombia vs Venezuela and Uruguay vs Argentina – talent-spotting articles have been published for both of these games. 

Otherwise, Matchday 2 of the Hexagonal will be on 2 February 2017 and the games shall be Colombia vs Argentina, Uruguay vs Brazil and Ecuador vs Venezuela – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter.

Darren Spherical

@DarrenSpherical

Day 7 – 2017 Sudamericano Sub-20 (Paraguay 2-1 Chile & Colombia 1-0 Brazil)

On the seventh day of the 2017 edition of the prestigious U-20 South American Youth Championship, attention turned back to Group A, with Paraguay taking on Chile and Colombia facing Brazil. Below are video highlights, brief summaries of each game and, most importantly, @DarrenSpherical‘s armchair talent-spotting…

groupa240117

(Source: Wikipedia)

Paraguay 2-1 Chile

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Group A, 24 January 2017 (YouTube)

Pre-game, both sides seemed the likeliest to be going home early from Group A, but with a late winner, Paraguay greatly enhanced their chances of progressing, whilst putting Chile on the brink. Yet, it was La Rojita who made most of the early running, with the returning Jeisson Vargas setting up chances and rattling the crossbar from a free-kick. However, very much against the run of play, Paraguay took the lead in the 33rd minute when Pedro Báez twisted one way and then the other before striking home. It wasn’t to be until the 82nd minute that Chile got back on level terms; they did so via somewhat fortuitous means when a mis-hit cross bounced into the goalmouth, evading everyone except Ignacio Jara. Despite this relief, their joy was shortlived as in stoppage-time, following a rebound, the ball found its way through to Cristhian Paredes, who hit the back of the net.

Talent Spotting

paraguay Paraguay

Although he had less of a monopoly over the Paraguayan creativity than he did against Brazil, Jesús Medina (No. 11, Libertad) nevertheless played his part in some of the attempts on the Chile goal. Indeed, it was he who passed the ball up to Pedro Báez (No. 9, Real Salt Lake, USA, on loan from Cerro Porteño), though it is the latter who deserves most credit for the 33rd-minute opener, as he fooled a cluster of defenders before firing home with his left peg. Later in the 78th minute, Medina played a more substantial role in what was nearly the second goal, as his corner to the near post area bounced before purposely reaching the alert Saúl Salcedo (No. 5, Olimpia) whose elegant flick-shot with the outside of his right boot had to be quickly parried. With three minutes left Medina, this time from a free-kick, chipped in another ball that found its target in Báez, but alas, this went straight to the goalkeeper; thus, the eventual winner was to come from a different route altogther.

Indeed,  Cristhian Paredes (No. 6, Club América, Mexico) deserves praise for both starting and ending the sequence of events that led to this stoppage-time goal. He picked up the ball in the middle of the park, holding off a defender along the way before nudging it to Sebastián Ferreira (No. 19, Olimpia) on the edge of the area, who poked a shot at the goalkeeper. The rebound fell to Guillermo Paiva (No. 16, 3 de Febrero), who knocked in a low ball from the right inside the area towards the goalmouth; this was missed with an air-kick from Ferreira, but waiting behind him was Paredes, who fired home to claim the glory.

Otherwise, it would be remiss to note that just before this, Paraguay actually had two other notable chances to regain the lead, both featuring players involved with the goal. Indeed, Paiva was, in a way atoning for his miss barely a minute prior when, having just come on as a substitute, he was played into clear space around the edge of the area yet horribly screwed a right-footed shot wide.

Previous to this, Ferreira had rose rather well on the edge of the area to head a deep free-kick from the right; his effort bounced and seemingly threatened to creep inside the far post, but alas, this went a yard wide. This set-piece was played in by right-back Rodi Ferreira (No. 2, Olimpia) and it certainly wasn’t his only creative input in the game, having come close to the target from a free-kick earlier on and also having sent in some other testing balls. Already a regular at club level, it looks like his country may have a decent pair of full-backs in he and Blás Riveros (No. 4, Basel, Switzerland).

chileflag Chile

Particularly in the first half, Chile saw much of the ball and, more than anyone else, the man leading the drive for a goal was the returning Jeisson Vargas (No. 10, Estudiantes de La Plata, Argentina, on loan from Bologna, Italy); following on from his crude red card against Brazil, he provided several, more positive, instances of his talents. With less than two minutes gone, he played an incisive pass forward to 17-year-old Iván Morales (No. 19, Colo Colo) who just about shielded the ball away from the Paraguay goalkeeper before immediately turning and striking low; alas, defender Pablo Meza had quickly sensed this and was there on the goal-line to clear. Morales had a couple of other minor moments of note in the first half when generally being a nuisance to the opposition defence and may well be one to look out for at 2019’s tournament. Nevertheless, Vargas was the main man in this period, playing in balls and striking from range – at one point, he actually managed three shots in just under five minutes. Indeed, from 25 yards in the 24th minute, he struck with intent just wide of the far post; a minute later from a similar position, he hit a dipping free-kick barely a yard over; then, most eye-catchingly of all in the 28th minute, following a free-kick Morales had won after chasing a chipped Vargas ball, the latter whacked a thunderous set-piece that crashed off the crossbar and out. Although he was less conspicuous in the second half, he did nevertheless display some determination and hunger to push forward and cause some uncertainty with his area-bound balls; it’s not hard to see why a Serie A side have already snapped him up.

All that being said, he had no role in the 82nd-minute equalising goal, which had more than an element of fortune about it. Indeed, on the right, Victor Dávila (No. 7, Huachipato) – who caused a few problems with his dribbles, though seems a tad slight – made some space for himself but slipped as he was crossing in with his left boot. The ball thus bounced unpredictably in the goalmouth with first Morales missing it and then a defender being put in an awkward position; before he could do anything decisive about it, Ignacio Jara (No. 15, Cobreloa) pounced at the back post to get the goal.

Alas, ultimately, it wasn’t to be enough and now Chile find themselves perched over the precipice of elimination.

Colombia 1-0 Brazil

CONMEBOL U-20 South American Youth Championship 2017, Group A, 24 January 2017 (YouTube)

Brazil rested several of their hitherto most effective players as Colombia snatched a victory in a game no doubt appreciated more by the Mario Yepes’ than the Carlos Valderramas of this world. Indeed, despite having a lively tempo, clear chances were not easy to come by, with the two defences both emerging from this with the most plaudits. From range, Colombia’s Juan Hernández perhaps came closest with a respectable effort and, later, he could have perhaps had an assist to his name had Michael Gómez got more direction on his header. The second half largely consisted of defences getting the upper hand, though Brazil did come close in the 58th minute when a spilled free-kick was nodded onto the post by Lucas Cunha, though the rebound from this was nervily blocked. To witness a goal in this game was certainly unanticipated and the manner in which it arrived even more so: from a difficult angle on the right in the 87th minute, substitute Ever Valencia struck what looked like a cross, but which may have taken a minor deflection that surprisingly deceived the goalkeeper. Despite this loss, Brazil are through to the Final Phase, whereas these three points for Colombia mean that while a draw against Chile in their final game could well be enough for them to qualify, a victory certainly will be. Their fate now lies in their own feet.

Talent Spotting

colombia Colombia

Though no attacking player could be said to have put in a vintage performance, Juan ‘El Cucho’ Hernández (No. 10, América de Cali, on loan from Granada, Spain) again made some notable contributions. After just 9 minutes on the left, he exhibited some fine natural ability when, apropos of nothing, he turned to put in a superb right-footed dipping cross which Michael Nike Gómez (No. 11, Envigado) met before the goalkeeper, but his connection was weak and went wide. Finishing like that won’t be earning ‘Mike Nike’ any lucrative sponsorship deals any time soon, though Hernández may have more luck in that department. He also came closest to the target in the first half when, from the right edge of the area in the 34th minute, he struck a decent effort that the goalkeeper had to tip over.

Otherwise, Colombia struggled to get a clear sight of goal within a realistic shooting distance and the likes of Luis Fernando Díaz (No. 17, Barranquilla) were often squeezed for time and space on the flanks. Indeed, for this otherwise persistent individual it didn’t get much better than a 47th minute cross-field pass that he played to Jorge Obregón (No. 19, Unión Magdalena) who, to the annoyance of Hernández in the centre, struck over from the right edge of the area. Also, in the 56th minute, right-back Leyser Chaverra (No. 15, Universitario Popayán) showed a brief glimpse as to why he may be one-to-watch when he came inside, received an unintentional one-two from his own forward nudge, then instinctively shot from range, though this was easily stopped by the goalkeeper.

Nevertheless, despite all these underwhelming attacks, they got the crucial goal. In the 87th minute, substitute Ever Valencia (No. 13, Atlético Bucaramanga) curled in a free-kick from an acute position on the right – ‘Ian Woan territory‘, if you will – and, though he no doubt was expecting a team-mate to get a touch on it, it somehow went past the keeper and in. It may have actually taken a slight touch off Brazil’s Léo Jabá, but as the ball wasn’t too elevated, it seems the goalkeeper was anticipating it to be headed away; instead, it flew by for Valencia’s second goal of the tournament.

Lastly, while Colombia’s defence may deserve some praise for the clean sheet, as they were playing a weakened Brazil side and three of their own back four in this match also conceded four goals in the Ecuador game, one may wish to withhold judgement for the time being.

brazilflag Brazil

Though they succumbed to what was a slightly fortuitous goal, Brazil’s defensive organisation deserves some acclaim for this performance as well as for all of the opening four games (three conceded). Those on the flanks, Rogério (No. 16, Juventus Primavera, Italy) and Robson Bambu (No. 13, Santos), performed admirable roles restricting the amount of balls into the area whilst centre-back Lyanco (No. 4, São Paulo) has an impressive stature and exuded confidence when coming out with the ball.

The other centre-back, Lucas Cunha (No. 3, Braga, Portugal), actually had his side’s best opportunity of the match. This came in the 58th minute following a free-kick dipped into area from the right by Allan (No. 5, Hertha BSC, Germany, on loan from Liverpool, England) which bounced through the bodies and was unconvincingly patted out by the goalkeeper. Lucas Cunha was thus on hand for the rebound but his header was directed a little too close to the corner, where it hit the post; from this, Maycon (No. 17, Corinthians) snapped a strike that would have gone in had it not been for an opponent getting in the way.

Otherwise, a few deflected shots and a minor 20-yard attempt from Giovanny (No. 21, Atlético Paranaense) that was comfortably saved low was about all this makeshift Brazil side were able to create. However, one suspects the coaching staff won’t be too worried as not only were they able to give some key players a rest but also all of those who did play will now go into the Final Phase with the relative luxury of five days off before their first match on 30 January.

To keep up-to-date with the latest from Ecuador 2017, please follow @DarrenSpherical on Twitter. The next games will be Venezuela vs Bolivia & Uruguay vs Peru from Group B – expect to see another bout of talent-spotting from these encounters on Hispanospherical.com. 

Darren Spherical

@DarrenSpherical