KOCHI: The Brazil-Spain contest the city will witness on Saturday is arguably the most high-profile game in the group stages of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Both sides reached Kochi well ahead of the tournament and, on the eve of the game, their coaches exuded plenty of confidence.
“Kochi is a really relaxed city compared to Mumbai and other Indian cities,” said Brazil U-17 team coach Carlos Amadeu. “The weather is similar to that of my city back in Brazil and people are really welcoming. It’s been a really nice experience,” he said.
Brazil had trained in Mumbai for a week before heading to Kochi last Tuesday. They have been prepping up for the game at various training grounds in the city since then, drawing plenty of local football fans to their training sessions.
“We prepare for each match watching the opposition’s videos and statistics,” Amadeu said.
“We know the style of Spain. We are always trying to win and will do the same against them. Both sides play offensive football and, for sure, it will be a great game for the fans.”
Meanwhile, Spain coach Santiago Denia - a former international and Atletico Madrid defender - said Brazil are one of the favourites to win the World Cup.
“We had two weeks of preparation, one in Spain and one here in India,” said the Spain coach who led them to the UEFA European U-17 Championship earlier this year.
“My players are doing their best. They have played a lot of matches together and the group is united. To be world champions, you need to improve in every aspect of the game.” His Brazilian counterpart was in no doubt where their priorities lay.
“It’s important for us to want to win this competition,” said Amadeu.
“We know there are many great teams and it won’t be easy for us. For these players, the most important thing is this experience. By being in the media and playing in front of the crowd, we are preparing them for the Brazil’s senior team.”
With tickets for the game sold out within no time, fans will flock to the stadium and cheer the two sides. And the match in itself promises to be a treat for the connoisseurs.