Finally, Brazil have broken the jinx. Guilherme Dalla Déa and his boys lifted the FIFA Under 17 World Cup after sixteen years. The Mission tetra has been completed. Now it is time to take this team to the next level. One cannot just sit back and watch these boys, who are not only blessed technically but temperamentally as well, to vanish……
After 52 matches and 177 goals at an average of 3.4 goals per match, the FIFA Under 17 World Cup came to an end. It was the hosts, Brazil, who won the trophy for the fourth time. Brazil were hosting the event for the first time and given their recent history in World Cups at home, the Selecao have always failed to live up to the expectations. But history had been changed by the young Samba Boys, who fought against the history and hard luck to seal the match.
The final was a repeat of 2005 edition, where a strong Brazilian unit were gunned down by the underdogs Mexico at Estadio Nacional, Lima. Later on the captain of the team, Denilson stated that “overconfidence” dented Brazil’s chances and since that defeat, Brazil failed to feature in finals. But finally, the jinx had been broken.
In front of a noisy crowd at Estádio Bezerrão, Gama, the young guns were playing their free-flowing football, which had impressed many of the viewers throughout the tournament. But the desired goals were not coming. The Brazilian forwards pressed hard and created opportunities but were denied by luck – either some of them hit the post or missed narrowly.
In the 66th minute, Gonzalez of Mexico put the North Americans ahead. Still, Brazil continued to attack despite the missed opportunities and as time progressed, it seemed, the memories of Turin and Kazan were revisiting Gama to spoil all the hard work of coach Guilherme Dalla Déa and his boys. Without a doubt, Brazil were playing the best of football on the pitch, which outweighed the opponent, but the goals were hard to come by.
In the 84th minute, Gabriel Veron won a penalty when Alejandro Gomez slid into him in the box. The referee decided to cross-check via VAR. VAR – one of the nemeses of Brazil in recent times – did not overturn the decision.
Kaio Jorge equalized from the penalty spot. With the game entering the penalty-shootouts, Lazaro Vinicius unleashed a full volley from Yan Couto’s cross the beat Mexico goalkeeper Edu Garcia with mere seconds remaining.
The Mission Tetra was completed!
The beauty of these young boys had been their strength of character, especially in the knockout stages.
In the Round-of-16-game against Chile, they were given a run for their money by the neighbours, but their never-say-attitude bailed them out while in the eventful semi-final against France, it was a fairytale come back, where the Europeans took a two-goal lead within just 13 minutes. “Brazil don’t play well against France in World Cups” seemed to be an established truth until Kaio Jorge, Gabriel Veron and Lazaro Vinicius pulled the socks up to bury the French-Ghost in a World Cup once and for all. That memorable comeback defying all the odds worked as a motivating factor in the finals as well.
Young guns like Kaio Jorge, Gabriel Veron, Talles Magno, Lazaro Vinicius, Joao Peglow, Franklin, Patriyck, Yan Couto and Matheus Donelli are not just ordinary boys, who are blessed with pace and skill, but most importantly, their mental strength and maturity deserve more accolades.
These boys know what to do when the chips are down – you don’t just sit back and wait for the counter, but bombards forward like Pele, Garrincha, Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo. This has always been the philosophy of Brazilian football – attack is the best defence, when you are behind.
Guilherme Dalla Déa seemed to have this team on this philosophy. His defence had come under scrutiny a couple of times, but when the attacking intent plays the key role among a bunch of young wolves, defence just becomes irrelevant.
The Under 17 boys of Brazil impressed each and everyone, but now it is time to take these boys to the next level. One must not forget that only Ronaldinho, Adriano, and Marcelo could rise and shine at the international level after representing the Selecao in the Under 17 World Cups. During the campaigns of 1997, 1999, 2003 or 2005 Brazil really had some outstanding talents, but the majority could not achieve the desired results since then. The same must not happen with this young unit.