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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Strong Brazil team ready for tournament ‘of equality’

The Brazil team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup seems to be a stronger outfit having outscored (24) all their opponents and conceded fewer goals (3) en route to the South American Under-17 title

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Sep 27, 2017 21:48 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA Under-17 World Cup,Under-17 WOrld Cup
Vinicius Junior, who will join Real Madrid in July 2018 for £39.6 million, is the star of the Brazil Under-17 football team which will take part in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Brazil begin their preparation with a friendly match against New Zealand in Mumbai on Thursday.(Getty Images)

A day before they kickoff their FIFA U-17 World Cup preparations in Mumbai, Brazil under-17 football team coach Carlos Amadeu stated it won’t be an easy task for his side to break the 14-year trophy drought, given that there were “too many title contenders”.

“All the European teams are very strong, including Spain and England, while Mexico, United States and the South American sides will pose a threat. Also, if you sum up the statistics, African teams have eight trophies between them at this stage while the combined tally of European and South American teams stands at six. It’s always difficult to face an African side in this age (under-17 level). I think this will be a World Cup of equality,” the 52-year-old stated in the pre-match press conference.

Brazil take on New Zealand in a friendly at the Andheri Sports Complex on Thursday. The Kiwis, who will take part in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for the sixth consecutive time, were knocked out of the previous edition after they went down to the South Americans on penalties in the Round of 16 tie.

“They (New Zealand) are also a strong team and in the last under-17 World Cup they had beaten Paraguay, a strong team. We faced them and it was a difficult game and we won on penalties,” recalled Amadeu, who had taken over the side in 2015 and guided them to the quarterfinals.

This year, however, Brazil seem to be a stronger outfit having outscored (24) all their opponents and conceded fewer goals (3) en route to lifting the South American under-17 title.

They also boasted of the highest goalscorer — Vinicius Junior who will join Real Madrid in July 2018 for £39.6m — and in Alan had the player with maximum assists. “Vinicius is our main player. Since the under-15 level, he has caught attention all over the world. He is proud to serve his country and that’s the most important thing for us,” Amadeu stated, before adding that his price tag wouldn’t act as a distraction. “The boys have been playing together with these guys since the under-15 days and there won’t be a problem.”

Like Vinicius, there’s always a constant threat of potential youngsters moving abroad in lucrative deals. But does that hurt building a champion side? Amadeu doesn’t think so. Reiterating that there are pros and cons of playing abroad, the Brazilian said: “Not being able to train together is indeed a problem but also, the positive is that the players are learning the game from a different schools of thought and different training systems. These things are important to help a player in their career and thus, we can’t look at these aspects in a negative manner.”

He also shared the secret that he believes helped Brazil end up as the side to have conceded the least number of goals. “Our defence system starts with our first forward. It can be Vinicius, Paulinho or whoever’s out there… The reason we have a solid defence is because the defending started far up on the pitch. When people look to Brazil, they always try to find players who scores or dribbles but we have quality goalkeepers and defenders. You can see our players playing across the world,” he further added.

First Published: Sep 27, 2017 21:46 IST