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FIFA U17 World Cup: History suggests shift in venue is blessing in disguise for England in SF vs Brazil

Brazil will enjoy the support of the vociferous Kolkata crowd, but England have an unlikely lucky omen.

SENIOR ANALYST
Feature 25 Oct 2017, 12:56 IST
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England haven't lost a match at the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup

With hours away from the much-anticipated semi-final clash between England and Brazil at the iconic Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, there is nothing to separate the teams as they have been playing quality football throughout.

Brazil enjoyed a huge advantage in the quarter-final clash against Germany as the majority of the 66,613 supporters present inside the mammoth stadium in Kolkata were rooting for the South Americans. Initially scheduled to be played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, the semi-final was shifted to the ‘City of Joy’ because the ground conditions in the northeastern city were poor and unplayable.

Needless to say, Brazil were very happy with the amendment as they would again hear the cheer of more 60,000 people for them. But, as per the records, England might get an edge over their rivals. The last time a World Cup semi-final match featuring England was shifted was during the 1966 FIFA World Cup played in their own backyard. The all-European semi-final between England and Portugal was scheduled to be played at Goodison Park, but it was later shifted to the Wembley Stadium in London.

Guess what? England won the match by 2-1, with the legendary Bobby Charlton scoring a brace. Portuguese star Eusebio pulled one back after scoring from the spot, but it was not enough. The final match was also played at the Wembley Stadium and England were up against West Germany. The hosts outclassed their counterparts and lifted their first ever FIFA World Cup in front of 96,924 fans present at the stadium.

Co-incidentally, the final of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 will also be played at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan. Hence, England will dare to believe they can repeat their 1966 trick, however unlikely it may look.

The organisers had to make quick arrangements as the venue was changed just a couple of days prior to the match. The tickets were up for sale on their official website and the response was remarkable. The tickets were sold within 6 hours after it was offered to the public. In fact, more than 1 lakh people were in the queue although the highest capacity in the stadium was a little less than 67,000. Kolkata once again proved why it is termed as the “Mecca of Indian football”.

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