Kochi : Brazil took time to break down an ultra-defensive North Korea but eventually ran away 2-0 victors to qualify for the knock-out round of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
North Korea, who lost their opening match to Niger 0-1, played majority part of the Group D match in their own half often placing all the 10 outfield players behind the ball as their opponents were the overwhelming favourites to win the game. The relentless attack from the tournament favourites, however, proved too much for the Asian side as their defence wilted under pressure after the hour mark. Brazil, who had beaten Spain 1-0 in their opening marquee match, scored through Lincoln (56th) and Paulinho (61st) to take full three points and qualify for the round of 16 with one match to spare.
On the other hand, North Korea have a tall task of beating another tournament favourites Spain in their final group match to have any chance of progressing to the knock-out stage. As expected, Brazil kept on attacking from the word go but the North Koreans found a way out to thwart the attempts of the Brazil offensive trio of Lincoln, Paulinho and Brenner. After conceding the first goal, North Korea opened up their game and they had a couple of chances towards the end but could not convert them into goals.
The first half was completely dominated by Brazil who had 73 per cent possession and 14 shots. But the Brazillian forwards were a bit erratic as only three shots were on target. Brazil overall had 70 per cent possession in the match with 27 shots out of which eight were on target. Brazil had a chance to surge ahead as early as the second minute but Lincoln’s right footed shot from the centre of the box off a Brenner assist was saved by goalkeeper S Tae Song who was a busy man throughout the match. In the 18th minute, Paulinho had an attempt from a difficult angle but again the goalkeeper was upto the task. Brazil kept on attacking but either their shots could not either clear the crowded legs or missed target. The goal finally came in the 56th minute with Lincoln heading in from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner of the net following a set piece situation. Five minutes later, Brazil made it 2-0 after a nice build-up weaving through the North Korean defence. Brenner sent a perfect through ball for Paulinho to send a beautiful left-footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner of the net. North Korea, who were forced to open up in the later part of the match, made one late attempt at the Brazil goal without any success. In the 83rd minute, Kim Pom Hyok’s right-footed shot was saved by keeper G Brazao.