Kolkata: Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu is disappointed that they are not in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, but feels the fact that they are getting to play seven games at a youth event augurs well for the development of their footballers.
Three-time champions Brazil will take on last year’s runners-up Mali in a third-place playoff clash on Saturday ahead of the all-important final between England and Spain.
The Selecao boys, who were tipped as one of the favorites to win the tournament owing to some of the individual brilliance of their players, failed to get past England in the semi-final. Amadeu’s charges lost 3-1.
“We cannot forget that we are playing for the development of these players. We played 7 games. Yes, we wanted to play the final but it is better than playing just 5. We have to represent our county and that is what we are going to do tomorrow,” Amadeu told reporters on the eve of their third-place tie at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here.
“The level of this competition was high. Many teams could have won. Mali, Ghana from Africa… France, Germany, Spain, and England from Europe and Brazil an Paraguay from South America.
“Mexico could have done better. The level did not look like it was an U-17 tournament and it was a really high quality of football. These seven matches gave us a lot of experience,” Amadeu added.
Asked whether he feels European international teams are focusing more on youth level competitions now than before and in recent years have outsmarted their South American counterparts, Amadeu said: “The world is globalized..football is the same. Europe has organization and competition for players. South America has the talent but better organization is needed. Europe has the youth leagues. We need more of the same youth leagues for the players to grow.”
Brazil players like Alan and Paulinho were seeing distraught on the pitch after their loss to England in the last-four stage.
Asked if that would affect the mood in the camp ahead of the third-place game, Amadeu said: “It’s natural to be sad after losing the match like this. What happens after this depends on the players’ reaction.
“I had a meeting with the support staff immediately after we reached the team hotel. I said to them we have to hold our heads high. We have to come back. Put our chin up as an example to the players. Next day we started working as normal so the players look at us and that is how we are preparing.”