By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Another chapter in the football (soccer) saga of Brazil versus Germany was written in Kolkata, India on Sunday, October 22nd. This time, it was the under-17’s taking center stage as Brazil stormed ahead in the second-half to defeat Germany 2-1 to advance to the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-finals.
In recent years, the heated battles between these two football powerhouses’ senior counterparts have been well-chronicled.
Brazil exacted a measure of revenge at the Rio Olympics last year by defeating Germany on penalties to win its first-ever Olympic gold medal.
Yesterday, an enthusiastic crowd of 66,143 fans, a U-17 World Cup attendance record, greeted the youngsters as they entered India’s most iconic stadium, Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium, also known as Salt Lake Stadium.
It was the marquee matchup of the tournament up that point with both clubs vying for one of the coveted spots in the FIFA U-17 World Cup final four.
Brazil came out of the blocks fast on Sunday, but it was the Germans who would draw first blood. Brazil’s Lucas Halter brought down John Yeboah inside the box leading to the Jann-Fiete Arp penalty kick.
Arp calmly stepped up and slotted the game’s first score into the bottom corner to give Germany the 1-0 lead at the 21st minute.
Germany’s defense was able to shut down the seleção’s offense for the rest of the half extending into the second period. However, midway through the second, it appeared Brazil’s aggressive attacking began to wear down the Germans.
At the 71st minute, Brazil would finally break through when left-back Weverson blasted a left-footer into the roof of the net to tie the game.
Only six minutes later the comeback would be complete when Paulinho launched a right-footed rocket from 25-yards out that streaked into Germany’s goal at the 77th minute.
With chants of “Brazil…Brazil” cascading throughout the stadium, Brazil’s defense was able to squash Germany’s last-minute attempts at a comeback as the seleção held on for the 2-1 win.
Brazil will now get ready for the U-17 World Cup semis where it will face England on Wednesday, October 25th. England booked its spot in the semis by defeating the United States, 4-1, on Saturday, October 21st.
In the other sem-final matchup, also on October 25th, Spain will face off against Mali.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup final will be held on Saturday, October 28th, also at venerable Salt Lake Stadium.