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Brazil wary of surprise pack Saudi Arabia
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 10 - 08 - 2011

Brazil is expecting a tough test when it faces Saudi Arabia in the second round of the Under-20 World Cup Wednesday.
Brazilian players acknowledge they head into the match as the favorites, but are not taking anything from granted against a Saudi Arabia team which finished the group stage with one of the tournament's best attacks with eight goals in three matches.
The Brazilians say it will be a hard task to contain the Saudi Arabia attackers and avoid an upset at the Metropolitano Roberto Melendez stadium.
“We will be playing against a very good attack, they have very fast players,” Brazil defender Juan said. “We will have to be very careful playing against them.”
Brazil is trying to win its fifth U20 World Cup title. It was runner-up to Ghana in the last tournament in Egypt in 2009. The team, led by Inter Milan playmaker Philippe Coutinho, began this year's competition with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Egypt, but improved significantly in its next two matches, beating Austria 3-0 and Panama 4-0 to easily advance in first place in Group E.
Saudi Arabia had an impressive start to the tournament and was the surprise team in Group D. It beat Croatia 2-0, then trounced Guatemala 6-0 before falling to title favorite Nigeria 2-0 in its final group match. The defeat was costly though, the team finishing second in the group to set up the match with Brazil.
Saudi Arabia, playing in the knockout stage for the first time, has scored eight goals, the same number as the Brazilian attack to only trail Spain (11 goals) and Nigeria (12).
“They have a very aggressive team,” Brazil goalkeeper Cesar said. “They are always attacking, scoring a lot of goals. We will have to try to impose our style to keep them from threatening us.”
Brazil beat Saudi Arabia in a friendly during the teams' preparations for the World Cup. Many Brazilian coaches have been working in Saudi Arabia recently, giving them an experience that may be important Wednesday.
“They can play in a style similar to ours, controlling possession with many passes,” Cesar said. “Brazil may be the favorite, but we still have to play the match and we know it's going to be difficult. From now on we have to be careful against every team.”


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