FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil face North Korea with eye on Round of 16

Brazil will take on North Korea in a Group D encounter of FIFA U-17 World Cup in Kochi on Tuesday. A win over North Korea will take the South Americans to the round of 16,

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 09, 2017 23:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kochi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,Brazil U-17 football team,North Korea U-17 football team
Brazil came back from a goal down to beat Spain in their opening game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup(AFP)

Brazil’s 2-1 comeback win over European champions Spain was the perfect confidence-booster they needed to get their FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign underway here in Group D on Saturday.

Lincoln’s and Paulinho’s first half goals were enough to see them through in a challenging match, after an early own goal, despite Spain dominating for the majority of the second half.

With three points in the bag, a win is all Brazil need from the next two games to make it to the round of 16.

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The Carlos Amadeu-coached team faces North Korea in the late evening clash here on Tuesday and will look to display the same attacking vein shown against Spain in the first half.

Helinho joins Brazil squad

Brazil have been boosted by the arrival of Sao Paolo midfielder Helinho, who has replaced Vinicius Junior.

“We are playing in a World Cup, so all the opponents will be hard to beat. We know DPR Korea are very fast and like to keep possession,” Amadeu said after Brazil’s training session at the Maharaja’s College ground here on Monday.

“If they (try to) counter-attack, we will be prepared. We don’t know whether they will play a high line or low line, but we are preparing for every situation.”

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Asked if he planned to make any changes from the starting line-up against Spain, he said, “We will maintain the same team and give them confidence.”

Midfielder Victor Bobsin also sounded confident. “We know they have a good defence. I think they will be more defensive against us than they were against Niger, but we are prepared for a good match,” he said.

“Brazil will never be relaxed after just a win. We were very happy, of course, after the match (against Spain), but now we are thinking of DPR Korea. (The win against) Spain is in the past,” he added.

Getting used to humidity

On the oppressive humidity in Kochi, he said, “We were used to the weather, but it was a bit difficult for us (against Spain) as it was the first game. I think we will be better adapted by the next game.”

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North Korea will have a mountain to climb just one game into their campaign.

After failing to take the few chances they created against Niger, which ended in a 1-0 defeat, they know a loss to Brazil will deal a crushing blow to their Round of 16 hopes.

Coach Kim Yong-su had vowed to do better after the loss to Niger, and they face a tough task to avoid defeat against the pre-tournament title favourites.

Midfielder Kung Jin-song was injured in the first half of the game against Niger. With no word from the media-shy North Korean camp, the extent of his injury remains unclear.

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Captain Yun Min, who had hit the crossbar in the opening game, is a vital cog in the Korean midfield, which also features the highly-rated Kye Tam. The latter had been a star of the AFC U-16 Championship last year.

Kim Pom-hyok and Ri Kang-guk, two other key players in Korea’s run to the semis of the Asian U-16 flagship tournament, started on the bench against Niger. At least one of them could feature in Tuesday’s starting XI after Jin Song’s injury.

With Brazil showing superb form against Spain, the busiest man on the pitch, however, could be Korean goalkeeper Sin Tae Song.

First Published: Oct 09, 2017 22:43 IST