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U-17 World Cup Brazil at ‘home’ in Goa ahead of Niger clash

U-17 World Cup Brazil at ‘home’ in Goa ahead of Niger clash

12 Oct 2017 No comment 36 hits

Margao: Even Fifa couldn’t resist asking the question.

When Brazilian coach Carlos Amadeu took his place for the customary pre-match media briefing, the first question from the Fifa media officer was along expected lines.

Are you happy to be in Goa, a place that Brazil has a great connect?

Yes, of course.

“We felt welcome and get the feeling like we are at home. We also have positive memories about Goa. We won the BRICS Cup here (last year), and Goa’s relationship with the Portuguese language and Vasco da Gama makes it comfortable for us,” said Amadeu.

Brazil are unlikely to be troubled at ‘home’ by Niger, their Fifa U-17 World Cup concluding league clash opponents, at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Friday. With two wins in their bag and a place in the knock-out stage of the competition already secured, Brazil will now look at topping the group, possibly even reinforcing everyone’s belief that they are genuine contenders for the title.

“There are great expectations from this team. But we have to keep our feet on the ground. We have not won anything. Our mind is now solely on the Niger game,” said Amadeu.

Whatever Amadeu might say, or have us believe, there is no denying that Brazil are among the favourites for the title. The Brazilian coach even reeled off a list of his own favourites – Spain and England topping the list that also included Paraguay and ‘all African teams’ – but to the neutrals, and all in Goa, you just cannot look beyond the football magicians from Sambaland.

What Brazil still need to improve, though, is their ability to kill games early. Against Spain, Brazil had 66 percent of ball possession in the first 45 minutes and enjoyed 70 percent total share against DPR Korea in the next match.

“We have to be relaxed in front of the goal,” stressed Amadeu.

Even if it’s only a point that Niger need to possibly qualify for the next stage of the competition, it’s unlikely they will get one. Not at least on Brazil’s current form. But the debutants, who already have a win against DPR Korea, believe they can turn the tables on football’s most famous exponents.

“The pressure is all on Brazil. They don’t know us and will be surprised (with what they see). If Brazil defeat us, they will be defeating a team which is making its debut at the World Cup. We will play freely,” said Niger coach Ismalia Tiemoko.

Niger are here on merit, and it’s never easy grabbing one of the four slots from Africa, displacing established teams like Ivory Coast, Morocco, Cameroon and, of course, five-time champions Nigeria.

“Brazil is a powerhouse but at the youth level, it’s different. This team is playing a World Cup for the first time, just like our players,” said Ismalia.

That’s true, partly. Brazil are at ‘home’ in Goa, and with 14 players in the 21-member squad who have played at the venue before, and won the BRICS Cup final against an African side – South Africa (5-1) – you must make them the favourites.
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Source: U-17 World Cup Brazil at ‘home’ in Goa ahead of Niger clash

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