x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE’s U17 World Cup hopes all but over after Brazil thrashing

Home team beaten 6-1 by South Americans days after defeat to Honduras.

UAE, in white, were no match for Brazil on Sunday night. Ali Haider / EPA
UAE, in white, were no match for Brazil on Sunday night. Ali Haider / EPA

Brazil 6

Boschillo 10’, 33’, Nathan 41’, 66’, Anderson 73’, Gabriel 84’

UAE 1

Al Ameri 89’

Man of the match

Boschillo

The result was not unexpected, but the UAE’s opening night loss to Honduras coupled with on Sunday night’s defeat to Brazil in Abu Dhabi effectively put the hosts out of the U17 Fifa World Cup.

The UAE cannot now qualify automatically for the next round and hopes of a good third-place finish were undone by a 6-1 loss at the Mohammad bin Zayed stadium to Brazil.

It was, in truth, an early footballing lesson in the careers of the junior national side. Without quite reaching the levels of joga bonito that all Brazilian sides of any vintage and age group are expected to, Brazil still strolled through, an ominous marker to all potential future opponents. But for some alert and valiant goalkeeping by Mohammad Al Shamsi, the scoreline may have been greater.

Brazil began with a little casual probing, Ciao down the right linking up well with Mosquito and Nathan, the duo that lit up their first game thrashing of Slovakia. They did not so much as overawe the home side as just prove their superiority.

Despite not threatening directly, a 10th minute opener felt deserved for their dominance of possession; at evening’s end they had 70 per cent of the ball. It was not a particularly silky goal, a throw-in from the left well shielded by Mosquito who played it inside to Nathan. His pass to Boschillo left defenders stranded and the striker made no mistake.

An inevitable pattern was set. Brazil controlled the ball, played around and the UAE were forced into the kind of last-gasp defence ten-man teams often are compelled to. Just after the half hour, Gustavo broke through down the right, found a way through two defenders and laid off to his right to Boschillo again. The finish was pure Brazilian, curled into the far corner with his left foot.

As they did on the opening night, the UAE responded to adversity with spirit and for the only time in the game, threatened. The first opportunity, a stinging, curling free-kick from skipper Salmein Humaid was clawed out by Marcos; the only consolation was that in a game involving Brazil, it was the best free-kick of the match.

A minute later, Mohammad Al Akberi’s wonderful reverse pass set substitute Kazim Abdullah free in the area, but, emblematic of the side’s performance, hurried a weak shot well wide. When Nathan muscled a way through to score his side’s third four minutes before the end of the first half, he punctured that brief balloon of superiority and turned the second half into an exercise in damage limitation for the hosts.

That was not to be either, as Brazil finally made the much-anticipated introduction of Gabriel, or Gabigol as he is likely to be known through the rest of his career. Within twenty minutes, the substitute – and what a substitute to have - had set up two more goals and scored one himself. The pick was the first assist, his delicious through ball allowing Nathan to dink in his second of the game and fourth of the tournament.

The hosts had something to cheer about at the end, Zayed Al Ameri pinching a consolation, but it was a meagre one.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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