A sumptuous late lob from substitute Byanca snatched Brazil a much-needed 1-0 win over Mexico that left them in a strong position to reach the knockout stage of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and their opponents with it all to do.
The result left Brazil behind Japan, who face New Zealand later on Wednesday, and Mexico on goal difference. However, with the South Americans facing the Oceanian outfit in their final game and the North Americans taking on the mighty Asians, the girls in the canary-yellow will be confident of seizing one of Group C’s two tickets to the quarter-finals.
Brazil had the better of the play in the first half, but they rarely failed to convert territorial advantage into meaningful opportunities. Their best chance actually came from distance, with captain Andressa’s superb free-kick going just over the crossbar.
If A Seleção’s final pass had often deserted them before the break, it didn’t thereafter. First, Camila shot narrowly wide and then, following some hesitant Mexican defending, Djenifer hit the post.
Camila then forced Gabriela Paz into a smart save, before Taylor Alvarado’s cross-shot almost caught out Brazil goalkeeper Nicole.
Byanca’s 69th-mniute introduction gave Edvaldo Erlacher’s team fresh impetus. The No9 employed her enchanting trickery to wow fans in Baku and torment the Mexican defenders.
Christopher Cuellar’s side nevertheless appeared en route to holding out for a precious point until eight minutes from time. That’s when Byanca received the ball down the right and, from fully 25 yards, produced a lob worthy of winning any game.
“We are very happy, we know we can play better but they arereally young girls. The emotional side of things is something we have toimprove. Mexico played very well, but we have won this game thanks to abeautiful goal by Byanca.” Edvaldo Erlacher, Brazil coach