On 26 December, Palmeiras initiated preparations for the São Paulo Youth Cup, the most traditional and important U-20 football competition in Brazil, and a competition never won by Palmeiras. This year, with a complete squad at hand, Palmeiras would certainly be the team to beat, as 2018 saw Verdão’s U-20 win the Paulista championship, the Brazilian championship, two tournaments in Europe and, recently, the Rio Grande do Sul Cup. However, success comes at a price: seven of Palmeiras’ regular starters have been called up for the South American U-20 competition in Chile, 17 January-10 February.
Vitão (centre-back), Luan Cândido (left-back), Gabriel Furtado (defensive midfielder), Gabriel Menino (defensive midfielder), Alan (offensive midfielder) and Papagaio (striker) are with the Brazilian squad, while striker Aníbal will defend Paraguay. The two best teams in the regional competition will be among the 24 classified for the U-20 World Cup later this year, in Poland, 23 May-15 June.
In the first stage of the São Paulo Youth Cup, 120 teams are divided in 30 groups. The top two in each group qualify to the knockout stage. Palmeiras play the first phase of the Copinha at the Capivari Arena, in the city of Capivari, interior of São Paulo state, according to the schedule below:
3/1 – Palmeiras x Galvez-AC (9:30pm)
6/1 – XV of Piracicaba x Palmeiras (9pm)
9/1 – Capivariano x Palmeiras (9:30pm)
In recognition of the U-20’s splendid performance last year, the young guns have been graced with the honour to debut Palmeiras’ new PUMA kit – yet one more attraction for tomorrow’s game.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!