FIFA U-17 World Cup: Hungry Brazil will be tough to stop, says Marcelinho
Brazil are among the top contenders for the FIFA U-17 World Cup title. They have not won the event for 14 years and will be eager to establish their supremacy again, says Marcelinho.fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 05, 2017 18:58 IST
Marcelo Leite Pereira is no stranger to Indian football. The 30-year old Brazilian striker made a splash for Delhi Dynamos in the 2016 Indian Super League. And thanks to his brilliant performances, he quickly became a fan favourite.
However, Marcelinho’s loyalties will be with his country when the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks off in New Delhi on Friday. He believes thrice winners Brazil will be desperate to regain the title after a gap of almost 14 years.
“The team has not won the title since 2003. They will be hungrier in their approach. The 14-year trophy drought has been tough on the team. With the amount of talent in the squad, they will certainly be title contenders,” Marcelinho told Hindustan Times.
Clubbed with Spain
Brazil though face a challenge in Group D, to be played in Kochi. They are paired with Spain, Niger and North Korea. But Marcelino was confident the South American heavyweights will sail into the knockout stages.
“It’s a hugely talented contingent that has come to India which means they are not taking any chances when it comes to team selection. This side looks strong enough to reach the knockout stages easily, and maybe go even further.”
The FIFA U-17 World Cup will also be a huge test for India, who are hosting a major FIFA tournament for the first time. India were granted direct entry as hosts, after they pipped Azerbaijan, Ireland and Uzbekistan to win the bid.
Thus, it will be be a first World Cup appearance for the Indian football team and Marcelinho said it will have a huge impact on Indian football.
“The Indian football scenario has been making consistent progress. If you take a look at the domestic tournaments, you will see a large number of players who are young and raring to exhibit their skills. With the FIFA U-17 World Cup being hosted, it can only get bigger and better from here on.”
The other factor that will work in favour of the hosts, Marcelinho said, would be the home support. The Brazilian, who will play for FC Pune City in this year’s ISL, believes fans play a major role in motivating the players on the field. He urged Indian football fans to cheer for their side.
“It’s a big, big help when crowd is behind you. It is no science to understand this. The enthusiasm of the large crowd of supporters at home matches is always infectious and spurs the players, whether it’s a league match or an international fixture.”
“A lot of clubs call home fans their 12th man, something I too believe in. This can also work for the Indian team. So, Indian football fans should come out in large numbers and ensure their team gets the backing it wants,” he added.