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Nov 15, 2019-Friday



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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup: Why Brazil goalie Brazao says clean sheets are due to forwards

Brazil have conceded just one goal in the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the team’s goalkeeper Brazao has attributed this to the team’s forwards being wonderful in defence as well.

fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 Updated: Oct 21, 2017 11:46 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Brazil, who have conceded only one goal in the FIFA U-17 World Cup so far, will hope to sustain their good run in the quarter-final clash against Germany at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata.
Brazil, who have conceded only one goal in the FIFA U-17 World Cup so far, will hope to sustain their good run in the quarter-final clash against Germany at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata.(HT Photo)

The myth that the worst outfield player in any Brazilian football team stands in goal was busted long back. From Manga, who played in the 1966 World Cup, Flumeninse’s Castilho, Emerson Leao, Rogerio Ceni, Dida and Julio Cesar, there have a number of shot-stoppers who have done remarkably well for their national team.

Whether Gabriel Brazao’s name would be added to that list will be known in the due course of time but having kept a clean sheet in three of their four games in this FIFA U-17 World Cup, Brazao hasn’t begun too badly. Till eight, Brazao said he didn’t know that he was “born to be in goal”, having played as forward.

But in India, the Cruzeiro player --- Brazao’s role model is Fabio who has been at the same club since 2005 making 426 appearances so far --- has had 14 shots on goal and the only time Brazil conceded was Wesley’s self-goal in the fifth minute of their opener against Spain.

Defending from the front

“That’s because, for us defending starts with our forwards. They way they recover and run is important to there not being too many shots at my goal. We work really hard for it to be that way and are working in the same manner before the game against Germany,” said the baby-faced Brazao, after a strenuous workout in pouring rain, here on Friday.

With there being little activity around his penalty area, does it get difficult to stay focused especially going into what should be their toughest match, Sunday’s quarter-final? “Every match I play, I think it would be my last so I can’t afford to lose concentration. All my life, I have worked at clubs and with the national team to get ready for 90-120 minutes of football. That’s what you prepare for,” said the goalie whose first memory of the men’s World Cup is the Brazil-Holland quarter-final in 2010. “A tale of two halves.”

And his last World Cup memory? “Well, that’s too far in the past,” he said, impishly. “If I have to look into the past, I would rather remember the Olympic final against Germany where Neymar did so well and Weverton saved a penalty,” said Brazao.

With Vinicius Jr being conspicuous by his absence and rumours around Alan joining him at Real Madrid travelling from Kochi to Kolkata, Brazao was asked about his plans. The answer was as assured as his show so far. “I would like to thank god for everything that has happened in my life. For now, the World Cup is all I am focused on. The consequences of where I play in future will depend on what I do here and when the opportunity arises, I will talk to my club and take a decision,” he said.

Message from seniors

Brazao said his team has had a number of messages of support from a string of senior team players such as Gabriel Jesus when Brazil were playing the last World Cup qualifier. And that senior team head coach Tite has met and spoken to them when they were at a preparatory camp at the national team’s training centre in Teresopolis near Rio de Janeiro.