The win over Germany was a difficult one, admitted Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu, who said his side had to slog it out both physically and mentally in the 2-1 triumph which took the South Americans into the semifinals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Brazil edged past Germany on Sunday night after conceding a 0-1 lead in the first half. “They (the Germans) had two days’ rest having played their last round match before us. It could be an advantage,” Amadue said in the post-match press conference.
Amadeu hailed his boys for showing character in the face of tough conditions. “The hot and humid weather definitely play a role affecting both the teams. But you have to think that these players were playing the game of their lives. Playing in front of 66000-plus, they were all tired.”
“It was a mental battle. I’m really happy with my boys. They not only put up a great physical challenge but their mental toughness was commendable,” he said. Amadeu credited a second-half change of tactics for the victory. Amadeu said the Brazillians managed to confuse the Germans with their tactical shift.
Germany led 1-0 till the 70th minute before substitute Weverson, who replaced a lackluster Luan Candido, and versatile playmaker Paulinho struck in a brilliant display to set up a semis date with England.
Amadeu discussed the change in strategy during the break and brought in Weverson in place of Candido, besides switching the players’ positions. “Our midfielders went to the wings while fullbacks and rightbacks went in a more central role. As a result, our forwards could infiltrate their defence more. This mixing with the positions and the style of play confused them,” Amadeu said at the post-match news conference.
“We also tackled their style to shoot directly from their defence by marking them well and blocked them. We managed to play better in the second half,” he said of Brazil, in line for a fourth title.
It was the Germans who stymied the Brazilians’ midfield early on and did not give any chance to the likes of Paulinho and Lincoln. Brazil conceded a penalty after Candido lost the ball possession.
“The German coach had a very good strategy. He blocked our midfielders and neutralised our most important offensive system. He made his team attack from the right. “This caused us some problems especially to our left-back (Luan Candido) who started for the first time in this competition. The German coach was aware of that and was able to swing the game in their favour.”
“This is the beauty of football. Weverson who had lost his position but when he got the opportunity he risked everything with that shot, what a great goal that he scored. The coach lauded the bullet strike by Paulinho. “Paulinho also beautifully scored. He is a player who appears in moments like this. He scored a similar goal against Venezuela in the South American championships,” Amadeu said lavishing praise on the duo.