FIFA U17 World Cup: "We played the Brazil way in the second half," comeback hero Paulinho delighted after seeing off Germany
The heavyweight clash between Germany and Brazil in the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup last night was touted as the 'final before the final' by many and the match sure lived up to it's billing as Brazil ousted Germany by 2-1. A capacity crowd, beautiful display of football, spectacular goals and a comeback, the match had it all and even after everything it still ended up leaving the frenzied Kolkata crowd wanting for more and the winners clad in yellow obliged.
The Brazilians came towards the lower stands after the final whistle and deservedly applauded the fans, who throughout the 90 minutes made sure that the Selecao felt no less at home in the City of Joy than they would have had they been playing in the legendary Maracana in Rio.
The celebrations continued off the pitch as well, as the players took their time in the dressing room, dancing, singing and making merry on the back of what could be a win in one of the biggest matches of their careers so far. The happiness was evident in their eyes and faces once they did come out one by one, but the eagle eyes of the media were searching for the goalscorers, the heroes of the night and the first to arrive was the substitute hero, Weverson.
Weverson, who came on replacing Luan Candido at halftime, scored a great goal in the 70th minute to equalize as he rocketed the ball to the roof of the net of the inside of the crossbar after midfield architect Alan had set him up perfectly. Talking about his emotions surrounding the goal, he said: "I was really concentrated since the warm-up and was looking forward to being a part of the game. I was thinking about scoring since I came on and after I scored it was just pure emotion because it was an important goal.
"I have scored some good goals for my club, but now we are celebrating this one, which made us level against Germany in the match."
Weverson, who got off early in the last match with a knock had injury concerns initially but had fully recovered prior to the game and his exclusion and introduction later was just for tactical reasons, their media manager confirmed. When asked whether he proved to be a game changer, a smiling Weverson stressed the importance of the team as a whole and on how he was itching to score since coming on.
It wasn't long before the goal scoring left back was joined by the hero of the night whose wonder strike sank Germany. Paulinho, who was visibly ecstatic, as he came into the mixed area with a bottle of cola in hand, grooving to the tunes his teammates were playing on the speaker, en route to the team bus.
The forward, like any other seventeen-year-old, had this boyish grin on his face with his braces brightly on display as he talked to the press about his goal. "It was a great goal, we knew it was going to be a really difficult match. It was another day when we went through our problems initially, but we came back and won. I am really happy that I could score the winner. We are now gonna focus on the next match which will be another war like today" said the number seven, who also talked about how his side came back stronger in the second half, playing the Brazil way, that the world knows them for.
"We started the match with our minds a little bit lost, we were a little bit confused. They were playing long balls, from their defence to ours and even when we were getting back the ball we were too slow on it. So during the break, the coach and the boys talked a lot and we tried to play our football, our proposal of the game and that’s why we won since we played our way," he added.
Brazil's fightback was in the truest sense a display of what the Selecao are actually capable of and even when the players were giving their all, they got a steady helping hand from the massive crowd roaring them on with Brazil chants.
"We have never played a game like this before, in front of such a huge crowd. A crowd of 60,000 people supporting us for the first time in our lives, we are really happy and this is something that makes us strong," said Paulinho, before concluding, "We expect to come back here to see them again soon."
Brazil were the final team to book a semi-final berth after their victory last night and will be facing another daunting task as they will take on the roaring Young Lions of England in Guwahati on the 25th of October.