While Brazil have made a perfect start to Group F here at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011, Côte d’Ivoire bounced back from an opening-day defeat to put themselves right back in the hunt with a 4-2 win over Denmark. In the pair’s final match in the section in Guadalajara, the already qualified Brazilians meet an Elephants side buoyed by that Danish demolition and determined to join A Seleção in the round of 16.
Brazil- Côte d’Ivoire, Sunday 26 June, Guadalajara,15.00 (local time)
Along with Uruguay, Brazil are the only side not to concede a goal in their opening two matches. Two wins for coach Emerson Avila’s charges secured a berth in the knockout stages though their durable backline, anchored by Cruzeiro keeper Charles, and they will now come up against the competition’s leading marksman in Souleymane Coulibaly – scorer of all his side’s five goals so far.
And though the South American champions need just a point to win the group, their Ivorian opponents are full of confidence after an extraordinary performance against the Danes. The African side are now second in the section, level on three points with Australia but with a superior goal difference (+1 to 0). Progressing to the round of 16 are the top two teams in each section, plus the four best third-placed teams.
46 – The number of minutes that Siena striker Coulibaly required to amass his four-goal tally against Denmark, with three of them coming in an 18-minute first-half blitz.
“If Côte d’Ivoire keep playing like that they’ll win this World Cup. To be honest, I think they should be considered the title favourites,” Denmark boss Thomas Frank, after his side’s 4-2 humbling by the Elephants.
“I’m grateful for the compliments, but I don’t see us as the favourites. If that were the case we’d have beaten Australia easily (in our first game). We know we can expect a tough match against Brazil, and I think that Brazil are the favourites,” Côte d’Ivoire coach Alain Gouamene.