Brazil take on Niger, Iran up against Costa Rica
Margao: Assured of a pre-quarterfinal spot in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, three-time champions Brazil would look to entertain the Goan crowd with yet another win when they take on debutants Niger in their last Group D match on Friday.
Brazil have been in sublime form, winning both their encounters against Spain and North Korea to top Group D and make it to the knock-out round. Just like Goa, Brazil, who were also ruled by the Portuguese, have the same culture and the team will have no difficulty in adjusting themselves to the conditions here.
They would be looking to take advantage of it and end their league campaign with yet another dominating show, keeping their unbeaten run intact. Brazil, who were also the runners-up twice, are looking to win the title for the fourth time. The Brazilian trio of Lincoln, Paulinho and Brenner have combined well up front and have troubled their rival defence with their sublime skill.
Their midfield duo of Marcos Antonio and Alan Souza will keep the upfront busy with regular supply of passes.
Come tomorrow, Niger's defence will have an uphill task to keep the mighty Brazilians at bay. "We are happy to come down to Goa, the place is similar to Brazil and we feel at home here as the weather is same like Brazil," said media manager Gregorio.
"We are happy to play our last match of the league down in Goa as there are lot of Brazilian fans staying here and they will come to cheer our team."
Debutant Niger, on the other hand, had a dream start to the tournament when they won their opening encounter against North Korea but lost the next game to Spain.
Now they have no option but to win tomorrow's match if they want to have any chance of advancing to the next stage of the tournament.
"It going to be a tough match against Brazil which we have to win in order to qualify for the knock-out round. We have the potential to overcome the three times champions and are looking forward to the challenge," said Niger coach Ismaila Tiemoko.
Meanwhile, Iran would look to end their league engagements unbeaten when they take on Costa Rica in a Group C clash of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Iran — top of the points table in Group C — have qualified for the knockout stage along with USA, Paraguay, Brazil, France and England, who are leading their respective groups with six points each.
The Asian giant-killers thrashed Germany 4-0 in their previous match.
"It was a great performance by our boys against Germany. They played as a unit, controlled the proceedings and exploited the gaps in the German defence to score a fluent 4-0 win," said Iran coach Abbas Chamanian.