Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | October 13, 2009
Home : Sport
Brazil favoured to reach final

Brazil have already beaten Costa Rica once and are heavily favoured to win again today in the semi-finals of the Under-20 World Cup.

Brazil last won the tournament in 2003 and will stay on track for their fifth title if they beat Costa Rica in Cairo.

In the other semi-final match, Ghana take on Hungary and are a game away from reaching their third U20 final.

Costa Rica lost their opening match to Brazil 5-0 and face the daunting task of trying to stop the team's attacking machine again. Brazil have scored 13 goals in five games and spread the goals around.

"Most teams have been playing very defensively against Brazil," Brazil coach Rogerio Lourenco said. "Still, we will be ready to face any formation."

Hungary beat Italy

Brazil survived a nervy quarter-final match against Germany, with Maicon coming off the bench to equalise very late before scoring another in extra time. Krisztian Nemeth also scored twice, both in extra time, as Hungary beat Italy 3-2.

"Once you are into the knockout stage of such a competition, you have to keep your balance and your mindset, no matter what score it is," Lourenco said. "The players were able to keep their calm and they kept believing."

Costa Rica also needed extra-time to beat the United Arab Emirates and coach Ronald Gonzalez sounded far from confident about facing Brazil.

"We are aware of what we have achieved so far and are very contented," Gonzalez said yesterday. "Against Brazil you have to concentrate for at least (90) minutes. Against Brazil, we obviously have to pay attention to the way we defend."

Ghana lost to Argentina in the final in 1993 and 2001 and have looked to be the most consistent team so far along with Brazil.

Welcome boost

With Hungary's senior team looking likely to again miss the World Cup - Hungary have not played in football's main event since 1986 - the nation's despondent fans will get a welcome boost if Hungary beats Ghana.

"We should not think about our personal careers. We must think only that there is a country behind us and they are really hungry for success," Nemeth said. "This country deserves it."

After losing their opening match to Honduras 3-0, Hungary have scored 11 goals in four matches, with Nemeth and midfielder Vladimir Koman getting three each.

"This is the most successful generation. At the (2008) under-19 European Championship we also reached the last four," Hungary coach Sandor Egervari said. "This is a sign that this generation is really strong. I hope they break through."

Koman, however, is suspended for today's match, as are right back Adrian Szekeres and Egervari - both were sent off against Italy.

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