FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil look to avoid hiccups vs Honduras in Round of 16
Brazil have won all their matches in Group D en route to the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2017. Honduras, meanwhile, won only one match in the group stagesUpdated: Oct 17, 2017 23:44 IST
Hindustan Times, Kochi
It has been smooth sailing for Brazil at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup so far. The South American champions began their campaign with a 2-1 win over Spain and followed it up with identical 2-0 wins over North Korea and Niger, ensuring they finished at the top of Group D.
Their perfect group stage campaign has seen them book a Round of 16 date against Honduras, with the two sides set to face off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu has kept faith with his starting line-up for the three games of the group stage. The only change he made was in the game against Niger, when attacking midfielder Alan, who was one yellow card away from a one-game suspension, was dropped as a precaution.
The starting XI from the opening two games will line up against Honduras on Wednesday as well. “We will keep the same team, with Alan coming back to the XI. This is how we work; some athletes can give us more (in this formation),” Amadeu said.
Vitinho, who had sustained a head injury against Niger, is out and will need close to seven days to recover, Amadeu added.
In Brazil’s attack, Lincoln, Paulinho and Brenner have been impressive, and will be the front-three against Honduras as well. Alan Souza, who played a major role in the wins over Spain and North Korea, will play in the No. 10 role, where he has been a revelation in this tournament.
Defensive midfielder Victor Bobsin has ably complemented the offensive-minded Marcos Antonio at the center of the pitch, and will be key in maintaining the team’s tempo.
What has really the caught about Brazil’s style of football is the way the defenders contribute to their attack. Full backs Weverson and Wesley like to go forward through the flanks, while center backs Vitao and Lucas Halter ensure that they keep a high defensive line.
Despite their aggressive positioning, Vitao and Lucas have used their pace, vision and strength to try and minimise counter attacks. They have been successful in shutting down teams on the break, and such an ability to read the game will be crucial against Honduras, who are expected to sit deep and look for opportunities on the counter.
“They (the centre backs) are strong and fast. They know they must contribute towards building the game. At the same time, our defence starts from our frontline — Paulinho, Lincoln and Brenner,” the coach explained.
Meanwhile, for Honduras, it hasn’t been an easy campaign in India. After a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Japan in their opener, they trounced minnows New Caledonia 5-0, but ended up being hammered 5-1 by France in their final group game.
Their third-place finish in Group E ensured Honduras’ progression to the Round of 16, but with Brazil on the way, the Jose Valladares-coached team will have to dish out a much-improved performance in order to progress further.
Despite the odds against them, coach Valledares vowed to go for a win on Wednesday. “We will definitely play to win. We will try to find loopholes in their game and try to break down their defence. They have a good team, but we have trained well for this game,” he said.
First Published: Oct 17, 2017 19:23 IST