England reject playing FIFA U17 World Cup semifinal vs Brazil in Guwahati
The U17 England football team was scheduled to take on Brazil in the semifinal of the FIFA U17 World Cup in Guwahati on the 25th.
However, following complaints by the England team on the playing conditions, the match had to be shifted to Kolkata, after torrential downpours in Guwahati resulted in poor pitch conditions at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.
"The England team has rejected to play in these conditions at Guwahati and had requested for better conditions. There has been a meeting on the same and the concerned authorities have decided that the claims are indeed one to be taken seriously and they have decided to relocate the game."
The turf was heavily criticised as movement became difficult during the quarter-final game between Mali and Ghana at the Indira Gandhi Athletics stadium. Several areas of the pitch were filled with puddles of water due to the continuous downpour.
As a result, the balls kept getting stuck, thus making life difficult for the players. Ghana coach Paa Kwesi Fabin claimed that the game should have been postponed. The Assamese Director of Sports have now ratified this news.
England are the favourites in Kolkata as they dazzled their way into the quarterfinals. They have won all four of their opening games at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. This included three wins in the group stages over Chile, Iraq and Mexico. They pummeled in 11 goals whilst conceding two goals on one occasion. That was followed by a win over Japan in the Round of 16 game - which they won on penalties.
The Brazilians meanwhile won their last game - the quarterfinal against Germany in front of a record crowd of 66,613 in Kolkata which turned up in numbers to create a partisan atmosphere for the Samba boys. Neither team has lost at Kolkata. However, on the 25th of October, something will have to give.