Iran and Brazil are through to the last 16 and will determine the fate of Costa Rica and Niger respectively in the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda today.
Both teams have won their two openers. However, from the two , Brazil will be playing their first match of the tournament in Goa and like Iran may be wanting to prove that many of their boys – who were part of the team that played at the BRICS tournament last year- have matured and assimilated the finer points of football in the year gone by.
Iran has been the star of group C in Goa and the only team in the tournament with a shock 4-0 win over Germany. Brazil has tamed Spain but face Niger that has surprised many with a shock debut win.
The first match between Iran and Costa Rica is as crucial as the second as a win to the latter could see the latter in the next round or at least qualify through the back door if Germany keeps leaving their fans in shock again. Costa Rica have a point against Guinea and could have easily carried home another against Germany. However, they need a big win against Iran and hope the result goes in guineas way if they want to make an easy entry into the Last 16 of this tournament.
The problem for Costa Rica is that they are playing against Iran – a team that has surpassed and shocked most in Goa. Iran has already made through but will like to finish in an unassailable position in Goa.
Costa Rica, on the other hand, started as one of the favourites to make it through from Group C. They played well against Germany for a major part of the game only to throw in the towel in the dying minutes of the game and let their opponents walk away with their first three points of the tournament.
Their story was abysmal against Guinea. Costa Rica played shades below their known form and were lucky to escape sharing the spoils. They were not in the game for a major part and the only consolation was that when they came together into the game, they scored. Iran will surely not give them such a luxury this evening.
Costa Rica will need to not just pull their socks but their shirts and sleeves up if they want to keep themselves within breathing distance of qualification because the Germans are not the type to throw in the towel easily. For that matter, not even Guinea who has the same the chances Costa Rica has of getting into the next round of this tournament.
Goa will be alive and awake to the night today as they host the States favourite team Brazil for the second time in a year.
As per reports, Brazil had it easy in Group D in Kochi having beaten Spain in their opener and DP Korea in their next encounter.