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5:02 am - Sunday February 18, 2018

Eng to face three times winner Brazil today

Agencies, Kolkata

Expecting an electrifying World Cup under-17 semifinal football match between three times winners Brazil and title aspirants England at the shifted venue of Salt Lake Stadium here on Wednesday, football crazy Kolkatans made beeline in front of ticket counters since early morning but only to be told that tickets are available to those who have booked those online.

Reinforcement was deployed immediately after a section of people began showing resentment after being told that only online booking tickets would be distributed from the counters against money.

“Soon after the news received here that the England-Brazil match was shifted to Kolkata from Guwahati due to ground condition and Fifa announced starting of online booking for Kolkata match, I glued to the computer but did not get line nor any ticket despite eight hours effort,” said a dejected teenager football fan.

“I thought to give a try physically at the stadium but the police drove me aside after I could not show any valid document to stand in the queue.” the youth came from 100 kms away told reporters. Both Brazil and England have arrived last night and they are scheduled to practise this afternoon.

After England won the hearts of the city fans following their superior skill and technique over the rivals in last four matches, Brazil outplayed Europe powerhouse Germany in the last quarter final with 2-1 win after conceding goal following a penalty in the 21st minute.

Two spectacular goals in six minutes in last 20 minutes saw the South American side propelled into the last four. The strike from substitute Weverson and prolific striker Paulinho was really world class for which the Germany’s defence could not be blamed at all.

Despite conceding a penalty in their quarter-final win over Germany, Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao has proven difficult to beat in India. With a save rate of 88.9 per cent, the Cruzeiro custodian has yet to allow an opposition player to find the back of his net from open play.

Footballing in Brazil is life and the South Americans have shown the world time and again with winning maximum five times World Cup for senior men and three times under 17. Only Nigeria won five times the world cup for under 17.

Winners of 1997, 99 and 2003 , Brazil emerged runners up in 95 and 2005 and got the 3rd place in 1985, a record for any side in the tournament. held every after two years. England on the other hand are eyeing to win the title for the first time in India and the side under coaching of Steve Cooper has ability to beat any side at a given time.

The championship has reached the semi-final stage, with four teams set to battle on Wednesday for a spot in Saturday’s final in Kolkata. The midweek contests include a classic World Cup match-up, while the other is a meeting of two continental champions.

The South Americans needed to come from behind to defeat Germany in a pulsating quarter-final clash on Sunday in Kolkata. The English, meanwhile, cruised into the last four with a convincing result over USA in Goa on Saturday.

The other semi-final sees Mali and Spain clash in Navi Mumbai. Both sides have impressed in reaching the last four, with Mali overcoming West African rivals Ghana in their quarter-final in Guwahati, while Spain overpowered Iran with an efficient display in Kochi.

Wednesday’s match-ups have occurred before at a U-17 World Cup. When Brazil and England lock horns, it will be the third time that these two nations have faced each other, with each having claimed a win in their previous two encounters at Korea Republic 2007 and Chile 2015.

Spain defeated Mali 1-0 in their only previous contest, which took place back in 1997. “We won’t change our plan. We’re working towards a way, which we want to play in any game, with respect to a ‘lesser nation’ in a qualifier or if we’re playing in the semi-final of a World Cup.

Our intentions will always be the same and that’s the whole point of having a plan. You can put it into action in the most extreme of situations and it doesn’t come any bigger at this moment in time than the semi-final of a World Cup.”

Posted in: Sports

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