The first report on the section of “Into The Unknown” comes from a youth competition for under 18-s in Brazil named Copa São Paulo (official website). It is one of the more popular youth competitions in the country and some of the best talents in the world have played and probably play now in that competition. It is contested mostly by the teams of São Paulo region. The current competition started on the 3rd of January and will soon reach the knock-out phase.
I managed to get my hands on a game between Barueri and São Paulo. I decided to concentrate on watching São Paulo players as it was much more likely to find someone very talented there. I was prepared to follow anyone of Barueri if they looked impressive, but in all honesty it was to hard find one. That is despite the fact that Barueri won the game 2-1 and also ended up topping the group with 9 points from 3 games.
The game itself was almost completely dominated by São Paulo who however failed to have any cutting edge in the final third of the pitch. Forwards had a poor game and most of the threat came from the full-back on the picture.
However from the ranks of São Paulo I found 5 players. Well, I found three and two of the five are the sort of players that have received some hype.
He was part of the two-man attack with Bruno Catanhede. While his partner was all about strenght and speed, Ademilson looked to have a bit better technical side.
He was one of the stars of the U17 World Cup in summer of 2011, finishing the competition with 5 goals to his name. Hopes are high for him and some predict that he’ll get a chance in the São Paulo senior team in the upcoming season.
In this game he hardly convinced me, he looked to have bit of everything but his main attribute was speed and elsewhere he didn’t show much consistency, there were at least few players around that felt more comfortable on the ball.
He was my absolute number one from the São Paulo players I saw. I hadn’t heard of him before and probably even for the real scouts he is a very new name. He is 18 years old (born 19.05.1993) and plays as a deeper central midfielder.
He looked very good, similar to Pirlo in his playing style as he rarely got into the final third but all the attacks went through him. He showed good control with both feet and his passing ability and vision were top-notch, paired with decent technical skill and quick turn. I imagine his touches on the ball were 100+ by the end of the game and I remember him losing it only 2-3 times. Always looked to get on the ball and didn’t struggle in tight situations.
I will definitely try to catch more of him in the future.
Lucas Farias is a 17-year old full-back. He was very involved in the game, starting the game as a right-back and then moving to left-back position in the second half.
His role was very attacking, but before we get to that, he also made a few good defensive tackles when he got back.
In attack he showed a lot of adventure and desire, he was unpredictable as he did both: get to the byline and cut inside. He got past players with ease thanks to his pace but some other times he also dribbled himself into a dead-end. In the end he created a lots of problems. His decision-making and crossing need to improve in the attacking phase however.
He scored São Paulo’s goal from long-range after he cut in from left-back position and unleashed a beautiful right-footed shot.
The captain of Sao Paulo’s played at the center of the back-line in a 4-2-2-2 formation and was the main star in the defensive phase. He looked as if he had a very good physical presence and good tactical understanding of the game.
He had a couple of bad moments, beaten one time for pace from a standing start and getting nutmegged for Barueri’s second goal (but the fault lies mainly in other defenders poor-poor marking), but other than that he was formidable.
In the air he was unbeatable, he made some very good clearances from difficult situations, didn’t lose one physical battle and was always calm if he had to use the ball.
He was the one name I had heard before. Playing as an attacking midfielder, a number ten, number which is quite carefully handed out in Brazil, he has very high hopes placed on him.
In that game however, I saw little of him and he was replaced in the middle of second half. He never really managed to stamp his authority on the game. In glimpses he showed to have the raw potential – good passing, quick feet, impressive technique. But that was coupled by some mistakes. He was maybe more targeted than his team-mates too, didn’t have much space to work in.