Tonight there is the final of the U20 FIFA World Cup, pitting four-time champions Brazil against up-start Ghana, who are appearing in their third U20 final. There are a number of top talents for both sides but two of the biggest are Brazilian Alan Kardec and Dominic Adiyiah of Ghana. Here a look at both of them.

Internacional striker Alan Kardec – Brazil

Alan Kardec de Souza Pereira Junior – more known as Alan Kardec – was born on January 12, 1989 in Bansa Mansa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He grew up playing in the Vasco da Gama youth ranks, where he joined in 2000. In 2007, Kardec made the jump to the Vasco first team and played his first match in February 2007 in the Copa do Brasil. He scored his first goal on April 11, 2007 against Botafogo in the Campeonato Carioca and struck for the first time in the Serie A on July 21, 2007

Loan to Internacional

Kardec finished the 2007 with eight goals in 26 Serie A contests. In 2008, he played 19 Serie A matches and tallied two goals. Vasco then decided on September 1, 2009 to send Kardec on loan for one season to Serie A side Internacional, with whom he has yet to play this season. Kardec is on contract with Vasco until June 30, 2012 though Internacional have a 2.5 million euro option after the one season.

Kardec leads balanced attack

Brazil have scored 14 goals through six games though eight different players have found the back of the net. But Kardec leads the way with four goals with Alex Teixeira having scored three times and Maicon twice.

Strong start

Kardec’s U20 World Cup started in superb fashion with two first half goals in Brazil’s 5-0 opening victory over Costa Rica. He went scoreless and was subbed out against the Czech Republic and was subbed in against Australia but did not score in the final group match. In the Round of 16 showdown with neighbors Uruguay, Kardec opened the scoring after 22 minutes in sparking a 3-1 victory. In the quarters, Kardec went scoreless in a 2-1 extra time win over Germany.

Marco van Basten-like winner in semis

In the semi-finals, Brazil and Costa Rica were playing even with the Central Americans having a number of chances. But it was Kardec who provided the Brazilians with the winner of a 1-0 victory to reach the final. In the 67th minute, Bertucci’s ball from the left side was deflected lightly in the middle of the area by Alex Teixeira and went to Kardec right of the goal and the striker volleyed home from a tight angle in a goal reminding some of Marco van Basten’s volley goal in the final of the 1988 European Championship against the USSR.

Title Number Five Close

Kardec is hoping to get the chance to strike another winner, this time to give Brazil their fifth U20 World Cup title following 1983, 1985, 1993 and 2003

Fredrikstad FK striker Dominic Adiyiah – Ghana

Dominic Adiyiah was born on November 29, 1989 in Accra, Ghana and started his football days with youth powerhouses Feyenoord Academy in 2000 and stayed there until January 2007. He then transferred to One Touch League side Heart of Lions and scored 13 goals in 24 matches – finishing second in the scoring list.

First time abroad – move to Norway

Adiyiah in August 2008 made the move to Europe, landing at Norwegian top flight club Fredrikstad FK and making four appearances during the 2008 season and helping the team finish second in the league. During the training camp for the 2009 season he scored twice but has not scored in four league matches. He also started Fredrikstad’s return leg in the Europa League Third Qualifying Round against Lech Poznan.

Teaming with Osei

Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh partnered Adiyiah for the U20 World Cup squad in Egypt with fellow striker Ransford Osei, who scored seven goals in five games as Ghana won the U20 African Championship. But while Osei was the main man in the African championship, Adiyiah, who scored once in Rwanda, has been Ghana’s dominating factor in Egypt.

Big-goal scorer

Adiyiah’s U20 World Cup started with a bang against Uzbekistan, scoring the winning goal in the 75th minute of Ghana’s 2-1 opening victory. He scored the first and final goals of Ghana’s 4-0 thrashing of England in Game Two before going scoreless in the Black Satellites’ 2-2 draw against Uruguay. With Osei already subbed out of the Round of 16, Adiyiah hammered home the game winner in the 99th minute of a 2-1 extra time victory over South Africa.

Two goals in quarters and semis

In the quarter-finals against South Korea, Adiyiah opened the scoring after eight minutes. And his second tally of the day in the 78th minute gave Ghana a 3-1 lead and they held on to win 3-2 and reach the semi-finals. Adiyiah again struck twice in the semis against Hungary, giving Ghana a 2-0 lead after 31 minutes before holding on for a 3-2 victory.

Golden Shoe all but locked up

Adiyiah’s eight goals in six matches gives him a four goal lead in the U20 World Cup scoring table ahead of Brazilian Kardec, Spain’s Aaron Niguez, Yonathan Del Valle and Jose Rondon of Venezuela, Vladimir Koman of Hungary and his teammate Osei. Kardec, Koman and Osei are the only other players left in the tournament with at least four goals scored, meaning Adiyiah’s chances of winning the Golden Shoe as top scorer are very good. All told, Adiyiah has scored 16 goals in 15 U20 appearances.

Looking For First Title

Adiyiah would much rather help Ghana win their first ever U20 FIFA World Cup. They reached the 1993 final before losing 2-1 against Brazil and then were beaten 3-0 against Argentina in 2001.

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