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Brazil beats Costa Rica 1-0 to reach U20 final

ALAN Kardec's second-half goal led Brazil into the final of the Under-20 World Cup with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica yesterday.

Brazil faces Ghana in Friday's final after the west Africans beat Hungary 3-2 in the other semifinal.

With a cross from Bertucci, Kardec scored in the 67th minute, swinging high to shoot past Costa Rica goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado at close range.

The Brazilians - four-time tournament winners - struggled to gain the advantage.

Costa Rica fielded five defenders against Brazil, determined to avoid a repeat of its 5-0 defeat on Sept. 27 when the teams played their opening match.

Brazil coach Rogerio Lourenco said he was more concerned with yesterday's result than the quality of the game.

"To make it clear - I am very happy to get to the final. But of course there is pressure to win. Anyone who coaches in Brazil knows this," he said.

"I'm fully aware that we didn't play a fantastic match. But you can't lose sight of the main goal, which is to reach the final."

Costa Rica kept a vise-grip on defense, fighting hard to deny Brazil space, and using fast counterattacks and good shots from distance to try and unsettle the tournament favorite.

A diving save by Brazil goalkeeper Rafael stopped a free kick from David Guzman in the 16th minute. Rafael again responded well to tip out a shot from Marcos Urena a minute before halftime.

Substitute Renan missed a clear chance to put Brazil ahead in the 61st minute by sending his shot over the crossbar.

But six minutes later Kardec finally found the net after teammate Alex Teixeira jumped too low for a header.

Costa Rica coach Ronald Gonzalez said he wasn't disappointed.

"Sometimes when you lose it almost feels like a win. Our appearances here have given us great confidence because we showed everyone that we can play at a high level," he said.

Fans at Cairo International Stadium roared on the Brazilians and booed Costa Rica, which had knocked out host Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to make it to the last four.

Costa Rica kept up the pressure for an equalizer with even Alvarado running forward, but the Brazilians fell back to preserve their lead.


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