Kolkata: Football is religion in Brazil and many miles away the Selecao country finds a similarity in the football frenzy city of Kolkata that has for years supported the free flowing football of the Samba boys. The metropolis city has already notched up an overwhelming attendance during the matches in the Salt Lake Stadium, but the anguish of not watching India play in the heart of Indian football left the fans in despair.
But nonetheless, the mega clash between Brazil and Germany is expected to sort things out between two of the best teams in the World Cup. “Football in Kolkata has always been Brazil and Argentina and most people vouch for these two,” said former Indian footballer Dipendu Biswas and rightly so. Kolkata had been an unthwartable den for the Brazilians, until a diminutive midfielder won their hearts with a magical display, leading Argentina to glory in the 90’s. Mohun Bagan legend Subrata Bhattacharjee further emphasised Brazil’s legacy calling it a ‘Breeding Ground of Football’.
“Brazil against Germany is a world classic,” said Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu and Indian football leagend Subhash Bhiwmick echoed the same, while also adding that Germany is one country among others that deploy top coaches even at the grass root levels and hence cannot be taken lightly.
Sparks are reminiscent of their meetings and while Wuck has asked his boys to look up to the 7-1 drubbing of Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, Amadeu reminded his cults of the victory over Germany at the 2016 Rio Olympics. What ever the result, this is sure to be an experience of a lifetime experience for both the teams when they face-off at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium in Kolkata. Both the sides carry a lot of expectations and knowing the love for South American football of the city fans, German coach Christian Wuck has called it a test of his players to sustain under pressure.
Brazil are unbeaten in the tournament having thrashed all of their opponents but Germany all together will be a different test. Die Mannschaft lost to a high-flying Iran before putting up comprehensive victories over Guinea and Colombia. Only once have the two met before in the U-17 World Cup, with Germany coming out victorious 4-3 in a battle for third place in 2011.
The three times champions will miss left-back Weverson who is yet to recover from a back injury. Germany meanwhile have many players under the scanner. Midfielder Dennis Jastrzembski will not be a part owing to suspension while Yannik Keitel and forward Nicolas Kuehn are yet to be declared fit.
Spain vs Iran
Against any other Asian sides and in any other tournament, Spain would have been the automatic favourites but not against Iran, who have exceeded all expectations with a wonderful brand of coutner-attacking football that has crashed the likes of Germany, Costa Rica and two them champions Mexico on it’s run to the quarter-finals.
In a battle between tiki-taka and coutner-attacking football both sides possess enough players that can tear apart any defence but the main fight will be between the two captains Abel Ruiz of Spain and Allahyar Sayyad of Iran. Both the captains have scored three goals each in the tournament and will aim to out-beat the other when they face off at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi on Sunday.
“It’s a top-level match because it’s a World Cup match. It’s not going to be easy. Talking about Iran, they are here because of the good things they have done. They have won all their four matches. It’s one of the best teams in terms of transition from defence to attack,” said Spanish coach Santiago Denia. Iran meanwhile have a hard task to complete when they face Spain in a battle once they called “Mission Impossible.”
Live from Jawaharlal Nehru International stadium, Kochi: Spain vs Iran – 5:00 p.m. IST
Live from Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium, Kolkata: Brazil vs Germany – 8:00 p.m. IST