FIFA U17 World Cup: Why Brazil will feel like playing at home in Kolkata against Germany in the QFs tomorrow
Kolkata and its love for Brazilian football go a long way back.
The stage is set for the epic showdown in Kolkata for a game which can be safely adjudged as "the final before the final". Tomorrow, Brazil will take on Germany in the quarterfinal of the FIFA U17 World Cup at a venue totally worthy of hosting such a prestigious match-up: Kolkata.
The Canarinhos have been the most in-form side in this competition, conceding just once so far and on top of that, they will feel like playing in front of their people in Rio de Janeiro - such is the craze for the South American giants in the West Bengal capital.
Kolkata and its infatuation with the elegant Brazilian football goes a long way back. In the 1970s, during World Cups, football fanatics would be glued to their radios to hear about the Brazil national team. When television sets arrived in the City of Joy during the World Cup in 1982, the Selecao were the adopted team of the city. Though that changed to a certain extent after the arrival of a certain Diego Maradona, Kolkata's love for Brazil never died down. It was always said that the people of Kolkata supported Brazil and Diego Maradona.
The crowd thronging to the redeveloped Salt Lake Stadium for the FIFA U17 World Cup matches have been left disappointed so far by not being able to see the Indian national team live in action. A Brazil game was on the lips of every person here and they got their wish in the form of a tasty quarterfinal clash between the two superpowers of world football.
Brazil U17s' head coach Carlos Amadeu has requested the crowd to come in huge numbers tomorrow which incidentally is the last day of the festive period in the region. Amadeu and his troops can expect over 60000 people rooting for Brazil tomorrow in a show of support unheard for any foreign country anywhere in the world. Such is the craze for the Brazilian flair in the city that the locals are already gearing up for a revenge from the Canarinhos for the 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Germany can do all they like, but tomorrow's Salt Lake Stadium support will be rooting for only one team, and that is Brazil.