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Category Archives: Into The Unknown

Into The Unknown: Fluminense (U18) vs Coritiba (U18)

Marcos Junior was amazing in first half with two goals, but made a lot of mistakes in the second. Picture taken from: fluminense.com.br

So, to round-up the Copa Sao Paulo Futebol de Junior tournament semi-finals, I found myself watching the game between Fluminense’s youngsters, who’ve flown through the tournament and Coritiba, who had kicked out Internacional in the quarters.

It was Fluminense who continued their great run with a big win as they beat the Coritiba side with an impressive score-line of 4:0. Two goals on either side of the break.

The game offered few interesting players, but those who were most interesting seemed to struggle in second half with overconfidence and tiredness.

Anyway, here are the players I liked… at least a bit. I’m sorry that I don’t even know their age because Fluminense website doesn’t have any information on the youth teams other than an occasional news story.

Eduardo

He played as an attacking midfielder. He wasn’t too involved in the game, but when he was, he showed a fair bit of quality.

Decent player with good vision & passing, but at times he also struggled with simple things and made some bad decisions. At least 2-3 times he lost the ball trying an impossible dribble against a wall of players.

A lot of improvement needed before he even thinks about the big level, but he’s got some materials to become a good player, at least on local level.

Fabinho

He was one of the two that looked very impressive in first half but in second half he faded off.

Fabinho played as right-back and rampaged up and down the pitch in the first half with great speed and great technique, almost finding the net too.

However he spent more time in opponent half of the pitch than his own in the first half and this running left him tired. The tall and skinny right-back also made more than a few bad mistakes in defensive phase but then again he showed on several occasions that he can win and make tackles too.

Leo Lelis

He is Fluminense’s centre-back. I should say that his performance was full of schoolboy mistakes – lot of bad decisions mostly, with passing, with deciding what to do with the ball etc.

However, he seemed to have the raw materials. If he is to become a good defender he obviously needs to get a coach who can improve the mental side of his game. He is quick, tall, strong.

Marcos Junior

He is the star man of that Fluminense side, playing as a striker. He finished as the top scorer of the 2011 Brazilian U20 Championship.

In this game he scored two goals in the first half, both calm and good finishes with first right and then left foot.

He has great acceleration, pace and very fast turn, but he is a bit weak for now, couldn’t win a header and lost a lot of balls in second half with tiredness and selfishness playing their effects. He had two occasions when he could’ve passed the ball to well positioned team-mate in attacking position, but he tried to dribble and failed. He was brilliant in first half, but in second quite bad.

From what I could find, he is 18 years old. Not sure when will he get his first chance in senior team, I could see Fluminense using him at some point of 2012 as substitute. He definitely has the talent to perform, now he’ll have to become stronger and smarter.

I’ve not yet decided if I’ll do the One Game Report on him or Corinthians’ striker Douglas. Will probably take notes on both and see who performs more promisingly.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Into The Unknown

 

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Into The Unknown: Atletico-PR (U18) vs Corinthians (U18)

With three goals to his name, Douglas had a reason to be happy. Picture taken from: placar.abril.com.br

As my plan was to pick one player from the final of the Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior tournament for a One Game Report, I had to watch both semi-finals. I had already covered one game from the tournament which you can read about here.

First on my list was the game between Atletico Paranaense and Corinthians Paulista. I knew that Corinthians had won the game beforehand so I didn’t even bother to concentrate on the Atletico players for the reason that they obviously didn’t have a good game and that I wasn’t going to see them in the final.

In all honesty, that result was really the outcome of Atletico playing really horrible. Corinthians was hardly playing magical attacking football.

There wasn’t a player that left my mouth open but there were three players I liked.

Cristiano (Cristiano Jonathas da Silva Ferraz)

He played as Corinthias’ right-back. Reminded a lot of Maicon in his presence as well as style, although bit less meat around the bones and obviously far from technically perfect.

The 18-year old had very powerful and agressive (not in the sense of making heavy tackles) playing style, kept bombarding up and down the right flank, putting in a couple of good crosses, getting involved in lot of attacks.

However he did look very inexperienced. He struggled to notice what went around him in defence at times and in attack he made few bad decisions. Could also improve his use of the body, let opponents come in from behind couple of times too many.

Douglas (Douglas Willian da Silva Souza)

He is a very powerful striker. According to the Corinthians website he is 187 centimeters tall and is also 18 years old, although some months younger than Cristiano.

He scored a hat trick in the first half. Added to this fact, he also showed very good strength, always coming out as a winner in battles against defenders. He also had good pace and decent touch. His finishing was top-notch – scored with both of his feet and I don’t think he took any other shot expect for those that went in.

But on negative side, he lacked in tactical understanding of the game and got tired in early second half already.

If I pick someone from Corinthians to watch in the final, it’ll probably be him.

Gomes (Everson Fernando Gomes)

He was the deep midfielder for Corinthians. I love a good central midfielder, especially a playmaker, but Gomes was more of a strong battler in front of the defence.

Also 18-year old, he showed good strength and a calm head in the midfield. His presence on the field was one of the reasons why Atletico had no luck getting good chances. He had decent reading and understanding of the game, the necessary technical level and good physique.

Only problem was that he looked as if he might need an extra gear in terms of intensity before he makes the step up from junior football to senior.

Note: Geovanni (attacking midfielder) of Corinthians scored two goals which were very well taken, but for all his good technique, he did a lot of bad things and looked very slow on the pitch. When taking the two goals out of equation he was quite bad.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Into The Unknown

 

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Into The Unknown: Barcelona (U17) vs PSG (U17)

Kingsley Coman playing against Torino. Picture taken from: manchesterunitedpremiercup.com

Kingsley Coman playing against Torino. Picture taken from: manchesterunitedpremiercup.com

Sao Paulo’s Copinha is not the only youth event currently taking place involving a lot of potential future talents. In Qatar, Juventus, Barcelona, Ajax and PSG are amongst teams fighting for the Al Kass International Cup. This competition is for under 17 players. Read more about it here.

I watched a group game between Barcelona’s and PSG’s youth teams. It must be noted that it was not Barcelona’s main under 17 team, this side was the Juvenil B which consists of those who are younger than the maximum age limit.

The game itself ended with a 2:2 draw which favored PSG as they went through while Barcelona is forced to fly home. In honesty only one player really shone out. I’ll start with him and after that I’ve singled out 3 other players who showed some good signs. Two from either team, all attacking players because both defences were unimpressive, Barcelona’s was really slow and weak while PSG managed to cover their lack of quality in certain areas with bit more physicality.

Kingsley Coman (PSG)

He was clearly the best player on the pitch. He played as PSG’s right winger. He opened the scoring with a brilliant dribble past a couple of Barcelona players before slotting it in with his left foot.

Technically and physically he was very good. He used both feet without problems, had great control at top speeds and he was very explosive, very quick. A few lovely passes too. On top of that he showed a lot of hunger for the ball, getting back to help and often winning it too with tackles and interceptions.

He did play a bit wildly at times, often pushing forward when he was clearly going to lose the ball instead of giving a simple passl to a team-mate in central midfield.

He is currently just 15 years old and is part of the France’s under 16’s national team. Well worth keeping an eye on this name.

Alain Richard Ebwelle (Barcelona)

Barcelona’s number seven played in a 3-man attack and was very lively throughout, being the most involved of the trio upfront.

The Cameroonian seemed to pose great strength and decent dribbling skills, defender he was facing had a lot of trouble with him. Also showed to be an intelligent player, usually making the right decision when he had the ball.

He was probably my second favorite player on the pitch after Coman, but maybe a level below, at least on the technical side. He’s 16 years old.

Mickael Latour (PSG)

He played on the left side of midfield and was little less impressive than Coman but still created some problems for Barcelona. His dribbling style was very weird, his feet were in constant motion even when the ball was standing still.

For every other successful dribble he did have one that didn’t come off and the quality of his final product was lacking at times but it was his cross which created PSG’s second goal.

Wouldn’t bet my house on him to become a good player, but some potential was there from the 16-year old.

Sandro Ramirez Castillo (Barcelona)

Barca’s central forward was elected man of the match (and got a $1000 prize for it) but that was maybe down to his reputation rather than his actual performance, after all, he enjoys a great record in Spanish under 17’s national team where he scored 7 goals in 3 games in a UEFA qualifying tournament against Poland, Montenegro and Malta.

However, he was quiet in my opinion. He did score a goal but other than that his involvement could’ve been much greater.

On plus side, he seemed to be a good dribbler, causing problems for defenders when he faced them with the ball from standing start.

He is also 16 years old.

Match Highlights:

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Into The Unknown

 

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Into The Unknown: Barueri (U18) vs São Paulo (U18)

Lucas Farias scored with a long range effort. Picture taken by: Rubens Chiri (saopaulofc.net)

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.

Ademilson

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.

João Felipe

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

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.

Marcelo

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.

Mirrei

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.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Into The Unknown

 

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