FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: This is a World Cup of equality, says Brazil coach Amadeu
The Under-17 coach of football powerhouse and three-time winners Brazil, Carlos Amadeu, expects next month's FIFA U-17 World Cup to be an open contest with plenty of teams capable of lifting the coveted trophy.
"I look at this World Cup as a World Cup of equality. All the teams of Europe are very strong, including Spain and England. The South American teams are strong along with Mexico and the United States. African teams have always done well in age group tournaments. That's why I say this will probably be a World Cup of equality as there are many teams with chances to win it," said Amadeu here today.
Brazil, who are to tune up with a practice game tomorrow at the Mumbai Football Arena in suburban Andheri against New Zealand, are in Group D with Niger, Spain and DPR Korea.
"Talking about our group it's a very strong group with South American Champions (his own country), European champions Spain, the national team of Niger which is very strong in age group and DPR Korea about which it is not easy to get information," said Amadeu who had earlier coached the country's under 15 team.
"I also cannot forget to notice New Zealand. They are also a strong team and in the last Under-17 World Cup, they had beaten Paraguay, a strong team. We faced them and it was a difficult game and we won on penalties. That's why it's a World Cup of equality," he emphasised.
For tomorrow's practice game Brazil will miss their star player Vinicius Jr, who has already been plucked to play professional football by Spanish giant, Real Madrid, and was the top scorer with 7 goals in the South American qualifiers.
"Vinicius is our main player. Since the under 15 level he has caught the attention all over the world. He has had a transfer. He was asked to come to this competition and he wants to come and is proud to represent the country.
"He will be here after his final national competition (for his club Flamengo). He will come on Saturday. He has been playing together with these guys since the under 15 days and there won't be a problem for him integrating," the Brazilian coach said.
Amedeu said while the entire country would be delighted to clinch the trophy after 13 years, the other primary aim was to get the players into the country's professional teams.
"In Brazil, everyone is looking forward for titles. As we are working with young players our aim is to get them to our professional teams. If we can do that by winning competitions, winning trophies - of course - it will always be a positive for us," he said.
Amadeu also warned the other teams that while everyone expected the Samba lot to dazzle up front with their ball skills, they were very good in defence too.
"Our defence system starts with our first four and that's why we have a solid defence. People look to Brazil and always try to find players who score or dribble but we have many other qualities. With our goalkeeper and defenders, we have a solid defence," he emphasised.
He also said the four South American outfits which will be seen in the tournament were all quality teams.
"We had the South American qualification which was difficult for us. Paraguay is a strong team. They are working together since a long time. They don't have individual skills as their main subject but as a team, they are very strong. We did not beat them but earned two draws while Colombia (in Pool A with host India, USA and Ghana) is technically very good and is well trained. They are strong in free kicks.
"Chile (in Group F with England, Mexico and Iraq) too is strong at home and it remains to be seen how well they perform away here in India which is very different," he added