FIFA U17 World Cup: How England's decision to reject playing semi vs Brazil in Guwahati could backfire
If the pitch in Guwahati was non-playable and unsafe for the players and the referees, it is a rational decision to move the semi-final clash out from the capital city of Assam. Afterall, the whole world wants the best playing condition for this mega event and the pitch should not ruin the beautiful game.
The choice to move the match to Kolkata makes sense in multiple ways. Kolkata, being the epicentre of Indian football, can get the whole stadium packed even if it is just one day notice. With the ticket booking started online for this changed venue, the online portal of FIFA has already crashed. For the seating arrangement of 60,000 odd seats, there have been more than 100,000 requests at one point in time. That is the craze of football in the Mecca of Indian football.
On top of it, the flat ?100 for the ticket made it affordable for even the least interested guy to witness the FIFA World Cup semi-final in Kolkata. That said, even if the tickets were priced five times higher, the football lovers of Kolkata would not have disappointed FIFA.
Not digressing much, let's take a look at how the venue shift can backfire for England. Since the India U17s did not make it this far at the World Cup, so the action-hungry fans need a team to show their support. And who better than the men from the land of Pele. It is a no-brainer that Kolkata is a blind supporter of Brazil.
Not because the Brazilians would be playing against England, but because eight out of ten folks in Kolkata are ardent supporters of Brazil. Imagine the yellow sea in the stands cheering every Brazilian touch, booing England's every miss, unforced error and foul. Brazil would be playing at their home ground in Kolkata and England would not only need to face the spirited 11 Brazilian boys on the pitch but also need to keep their nerves calm against the record attendance which would turn up on 25th October at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Being a neutral fan, I would wish, the best team to win. But sometimes, the 12th men of the team, the crowd cheering at the top of their lungs, do leave an impact.
Best wishes to both the teams. England would need a magical effort to keep the crowd silent.