FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil look prepared to end 14-year title drought - Hindustan Times

FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil look prepared to end 14-year title drought

ByMarcelo Leite Pereira
Oct 15, 2017 09:18 AM IST

Brazil seem to be a well balanced side this time and should go all the way in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup has always been unpredictable in nature. You mostly don’t know much about the opponent and their strategy. Though Brazil is a football powerhouse we are still second to Nigeria in FIFA U-17 World Cup rankings.

Brazil have progressed to the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup being held in India for the first time.(AFP)
Brazil have progressed to the Round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup being held in India for the first time.(AFP)

Brazil have also won just three titles against Nigeria’s five. Mexico is the only other South American country to have won the FIFA U-17 World Cup ever from the continent, while teams like Argentina, Chile and Colombia are further behind.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Pre-Quarterfinal lineup and match schedule

This year though seems to be different and I somehow get a feeling that we might be able to bridge that gap. Brazil have gone through an agonising 14-year title drought but to me this team looks hungry to win this one.

It showed in Brazil’s intention when the absence of Vinicius Junior didn’t affect their performance – starting the campaign with a superb win over Spain followed by Niger and North Korea. That the team has scored twice in each game and conceded just one speaks volume of their well- executed plans.

Brazil have come to India with a huge contingent which means this side means serious business. The team has an able coaching staff under Carlos Amadeu and the results show that their strategy is well in place. It’s a well balanced side and looks solid to go all the way in the competition.

At the top, both Lincoln and Paulinho are in great form scoring in both the matches. Gabriel Brazoa has been good under the bar. But for me, Alan Souza and Paulinho are the ones who stand out as they have run the show for our team, displaying our flair and legacy.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Mexico draw with Chile, enter Round of 16

Football isn’t just a sport in Brazil, it’s a way of life. People eat, drink and sleep the sport.

The national football team is often the national identity, an institution that gives Brazilians confidence in themselves. Most kids start learning the fundamentals at very young age; sometimes they see it every day inside their family and on the streets of Brazil. And then, every generation has had heroes to look up to --- Pele, Zico, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka.

Also those who are serious about pursuing this sport as a career know that through football they have a chance to lead a better life than many. So, there are so many motivations for an individual to take up the sport, eventually helping the country to find a possible hero in every nook and corner.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Second-half blitz from England sets up Japan clash

For me, India could be that powerhouse in years to come. The scenario is changing in India too and it has been making consistent progress. After three seasons of electrifying ISL, having the FIFA U-17 World Cup here would add to the motivation of kids to take up the sport. It can only get bigger and better from here.

Even the Indian boys have put up a good show, honestly. This is the first time I saw them play so haven’t seen them enough to say who impressed me the most. But surely, the first and lone goal scorer Jeakson Singh must be a national hero now.

(Marcelo Leite Pereira, also known as Marcelinho was the ISL Golden Boot winner for 2016. A product of Flamengo and Atletico Madrid B – the Brazilian returns to ISL 2017 for FC Pune City. The opinions expressed are personal.)

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