They may have found the going tough, but Ecuador have made it safely through to the knockout stages of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011. At stake for the Ecuadorians in the Round of 16 is not only progression to the quarter-finals, but the chance to take revenge on a Brazil side that beat them on the way to winning the South American U-17 Championship in Ecuador back in March.
This encounter will be the national teams’ second meeting at U-17 level this year. In the first game, which came in the six-team final round of the continental championship, A Seleção sank the host nation 3-1 en route to the title. Ecuador booked their place at Mexico 2011 by coming home in fourth spot.
Brazil coach Emerson Avila has made a few subtle alterations to his side since that Sudamericano triumph, most notably via the unearthing of centre-forward gem Ademilson, who has developed a fine understanding with fellow front-runners Lucas Piazon and Adryan. La Tri, for their part, have kept faith with the same core of players.
Wins over Denmark and Australia and a pulsating draw with Côte d’Ivoire ensured Brazil qualified in top spot in Group F. Ecuador, meanwhile, bounced back from a 6-1 hammering by Germany in their opening game to qualify second in Group E after wins against Panama and Burkina Faso.
71.4 – There can be little doubt that striker Ademilson has fitted like a glove into this Brazilian side. Proof of that is the youngster’s direct involvement in five of A Seleção’s seven goals so far (71.4 per cent), having scored three and supplied two assists.
“We played them at the South American championship on their home patch. We won 3-1 but it was a difficult, patchy game. We went 2-0 up early on which took the wind out of their fans’ sails, and they only got their consolation goal right at the end. But they’ve got a very good team, with fast forwards and a quality attacking midfielder,” Brazil forward Lucas Piazon.