Brazil comes from a goal behind to snatch all three points
Kochi’s first match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup was also probably the biggest of the group stage as Brazil took on Spain in a Group D match at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium.
Brazil skipper Vitao marshalled the defence in a 4-3-3 formation with Lincoln leading the line in the absence of the Real Madrid signing Vinicius Jr. Paulinho. Brenner provided support from the flanks with playmaker Alan slotting into midfield along with Marcos Antonio and Victor Bobsin.
Spain’s flexible starting line-up was lead by the in-form FC Barcelona product Abel Ruiz, who is known for scoring goals game after game. Ferran Torres and Carlos Betia were tasked with providing the supply for him, while Jaume Mateu marshalled the defence with Alvaro Fernandez in goal.
Spain started the match brightly and it was the European champions who threatened in the first few minutes of the game. Abel Ruiz spurned his shot wide after being put through on goal by a good ball from midfield.
The first goal came with the run of play as Torres’ cross from the right for Moukhliss was put in to his own net by Wesley.
The opening goal seemed to wake Brazil up, as they started dominating the midfield with the majority of the ball possession. The South American team had the perfect chance to equalize through Paulinho when his shot deflected off the keeper and into the path of Lincoln but the striker couldn’t control it goalwards.
The equalizer came in the 25th minute and it wasn’t against the run of play. Brenner perfectly crossed for Lincoln inside the box, who hit the net on his second attempt.
The game became a midfield battle after the equalizer but Brazil had firm control over the game. They were good in possession and that resulted in a second goal just before the break.
Marcos Antonio picked out Paulinho inside the box with a deliciously lobbed ball and the right-sided winger made no mistake in hitting the net to make it 2-1 just before the half-time whistle.
Spain started well in the second half but they lacked finish in the final third. Brazilian coach Carlos Nascimento took advantage of Spain’s sloppy attack and substituted midfielder Victor Bobsin for defender Rodrigo Guth in the 60th minute. Further he substituted forward Brenner for central midfielder Vitinho.
Both teams continued to test the goalkeeper one by one but in the end, there was a little too much respect on show by both teams. Spain struggled to find an end product and Brazil countered with ease throughout the second half.
With Spain hungry for a goal, Brazil hit them on the counter at will. Marcos Antonio took on his marker and beat him for pace on one such opportunity in the final few minutes but his cross for Paulinho in the middle was cut out by the goalkeeper.
Brazil who came into the tournament as the ultimate favourites went on to gather all possible points from the group opener. The face Korea DPR next with Spain facing Niger on 10th this month.