February 2018
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Already qualified, Brazil ease past Niger in final group game
(Margao, Oct 13, 2017):The Fatorda Stadium wasn’t filled to the brim but one of the best turnouts at the venue witnessed Brazil beat Niger 2-0 in Group D of the U-17 FIFA World Cup on Friday.

Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu expected a warm reception from the crowd and he wasn’t disappointed with almost 16,000 spectators turning up to cheer the Samba Boys.

The South American champions topped the group with nine points after their third victory. Spain, who beat North Korea 2-0, were second with six points while Niger (3 points) and DPR Korea (nil) finished third and last respectively.

Brazil will return to their Kochi base to play their round of 16 match on October 18. Spain will travel to Guwahati for their first knockout match on October 17.

Perfect pass

It didn’t take Brazil long to open up the Niger defence. Right-back Wesley’s delightful pass found Paulinho, who laid a perfect pass for Lincoln to tap in, in the fourth minute.

Brazil’s second goal came in the 38th minute when Brenner’s weak free-kick deflected off Yacine Wa Massamba into the goal with goalkeeper Khaled Lawali wrong-footed.

Coach Amadeu was worried about Brazil’s conversion rate on the eve of the match and he will have to work on it going into the knockouts.

On Friday, Brazil again created numerous chances but the finish let them down. Lincoln and Vitinho were guilty of fluffing their chances, especially in the first half, after getting into good positions. Amadeu admitted their scoring should have been clinical.

Shaky defence

Another area of concern for Amadeu will be their defenders, who gave away the ball when under no pressure. But they were lucky not to be punished as Niger failed to capitalise. Against stronger teams in the knockouts, the Selecao could be punished.

Amadeu said after the victory: “We scored the goal in the opening minutes of the match, which we didn’t manage in the previous two matches. As a result we were more relaxed as the match progressed. They caused us some difficulty with man-to-man marking and hit on the counter.”

Guinea coach Ismaila Tiemoko said the mistake and missed chances cost them. “We lost 2-0 because of the two specific mistakes we committed. We didn’t mark the Brazil players and we weren’t there where we should have been. We squandered good scoring opportunities. In the end it would fall in place but at the moment we are lacking serenity. It’s quite a challenge for us as we create lot of chances. But scoring has been an issue.”

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