Rating Brazil's Next Generation of Wonderkids
Watching the next generation of Brazilian footballers should infuse any fan with a sense of excitement and anticipation.
At any one time the Selecao youth ranks are scored with talented kids all vaunted to be the next best thing. Some make it and some don't, but the numbers never cease and nor does the curiosity into who these YouTube superstars are.
The current U20's crop got off to a less than glittering start to the South American Youth Championships in Argentina.
The tricks, flicks and showboat specials went awry as the Samba Boys stuttered to a 1-1 draw against Ecuador on Thursday night.
Despite Brazil fielding many of the purported legends, the Ecuadorans looked more like a team and were the better side throughout.
So how did the household names get on? I had a look at five of the players tipped for top things to see how they got along.
Wallace: 18 Right-Back (Fluminese/Chelsea)
The Fluminese full-back is due to join Chelsea in the summer and presumably he had a better game in front of their scouts than he did in front of me.
Cast from the Cafu prototype, Wallace constantly flew forward but with a mixed results and looked undecided defensively...culminating in a first-half booking after getting skinned.
His enthusiasm and willingness to attack never waned, but the quality didn't shine through.
Certainly doesn't look ready to slip into the Chelsea side at present. On either count.
Mattheus: 18 Midfield (Flamengo)
Named after Lothar, Mattheus is the son of Brazil's World Cup-winning striker Bebeto, and was indeed the baby in the 'baby rocking' celebration Bebeto and Co. made famous at USA '94.
The Flamengo youngster looked the most composed of the midfield gang and tested the keeper early on with a well-struck shot.
Mattheus showed a sweet touch and technique and tried to influence things throughout.
His endeavours weren't rewarded by a mixed Brazilian performance, but the midfield maestro at least demonstrated signs of his quality.
Felipe Anderson: 19 Midfield (Santos)
Very much a miss rather than a hit. The Santos midfielder was just as fallible as the rest of his colleagues in failing to control the game, and it was no surprise when he got hooked just before the hour.
Playing deeper in midfield, he didn't influence the game on the ball or break up any of Ecuador's obliging breaks.
Felipe Anderson epitomised an underwhelming Brazilian showing which lacked fluency, quality and any outstanding moments of class.
Adryan: 18 Attacking Midfield (Flamengo)
Botafogo's boy showed glimpses of promise but was another guilty of being too exuberant.
Adryan drifted off the front and looked elusive when going at the first man. His end product and decision making was erratic, but there was usually a genuine threat carried.
There are plenty of archetypal Brazilian flair forwards, and Adryan will have to show more if he is to rise out of the pack..
Ademilson: 19 Striker (Sao Paulo)
Ademilson struck me as the player who most had something about him.
The Santos striker was loosely based as the most advanced of the forwards and looked sharp...always looking to cause trouble with the ball at his feet.
There were vague shades of a young Ronaldo in Ademilson and the one standout moment of the game came when he left a couple of defenders standing and rattled the bar from 25 yards.
The supply wasn't great and in truth Ademilson frustrated in return. However, he looks a real prospect and in my opinion the best of the bunch.