PREVIEW: FIFA U-17 World Cup-QUARTER-FINAL
Kolkata : Sparks are set to fly when three- time former champions Brazil take on old rivals Germany in a titanic battle for one of the semi-final berths in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup here on Sunday.
It’s been a treat for football fans whenever the two teams locked horns.
In the recent past, Germany annihilated Brazil 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup in the latter’s den, while the Neymar-inspired Selecao returned the favour at the Rio Olympics last year by winning the gold medal.
The Salt Lake Stadium has hosted many high-profile matches in the past, including the Lionel Messi-studded Argentina versus Venezuela exhibition game, but this is arguably the biggest official fixture to be played on Indian soil, reports PTI.
The big-ticket quarterfinal has already got the fans talking and the Sunday turnout is expected to be above 60,000.
Deprived of India games at the revamped Saltlake Stadium, the football-mad Kolkata did not disappoint with an average 40,000-plus attendance so far.
The Brazilians have a huge support base in the region since the legendary Pele mesmerised the city during the Cosmos tour of 1977.
Compared to their illustrious seniors who are five-time reigning world champions, the German colts are still searching for an elusive title at U-17 level. Their best came in the tournament’s inaugural edition in China 1985 when the then West Germany had finished runners-up.
On paper, the Germans are no match for their Latin American rivals who are in their 16th U-17 World Cup.
Till 2015, Brazil have played the most matches (75), accumulated the most victories (47) and scored the most goals (166) in the history of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
These stats however don’t make the Carlos Amadeu-coached side favourites with Christian Wueck’s boys peaking at the right time after being stunned 0-4 by Iran in the tournament’s biggest upset.
The Brazilians are attacking from the wings and Wueck is seen cleverly adjusting their style to his trusted 4-5-1 formation.
With left-winger Dennis Jastrzembski facing suspension and injury concerns to their midfielders Yannik Keitel, Sahverdi Cetin and Nicholas Kuehn, it remains to be seen how Wueck employs his attack.
Jastrzembski formed a fine combination with John Yeboah to his right along with their leading scorer Jann-Fiete Arp in their 4-0 pre-quarterfinal win over Colombia in New Delhi.
The Teams (From)
Brazil: Gabriel Brazao, Lucao, Yuri Sena; Lucas Halter, Matheus Stockl, Wesley, Rodrigo Guth, Vitao, Weverson, Luan Candido; Alan, Victor Yan, Victor Bobsin, Marcos Antonio, Helio Junio, Rodrigo Nestor, Vitinho; Paulinho, Yuri Alberto, Brenner, Lincoln
Germany: Luca Plogmann, Luis Klatte, Marian Prinz; Lars Mai, Yann Bisseck, Jan Boller, Alexander Nitzl, Pascal Hackethal, Josha Vagnoman; Sahverdi Cetin, Elias Abouchabaka, Yannik Keitel, Erik Majetschak, John Yeboah; Dennis Jastrzembski, Nicolas Kuehn, Maurice Malone, Noah Awuku, Jann-Fiete Arp