Having charged unbeaten all the way to the last four here at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011, Brazil and Germany both tasted their first defeats of the competition in painful fashion at the semi-final stage. After leading 2-1 against the host nation in their semi, the Germans conceded twice in the last 14 minutes to kiss their final hopes goodbye. Brazil, for their part, had 17 more shots than their Uruguayan opponents, yet still went down to an emphatic 3-0 reverse.
Which of these heavyweights of the world game can bounce back quickest and seize the last place on the podium?
This will be the sixth meeting between the two footballing giants at a FIFA U-17 World Cup, with Brazil winning three, Germany one and another match ending level. The South Americans have also struck 12 goals to the Europeans’ four spanning these five encounters, though here at Mexico 2011 it is Germany who have been the more prolific – scoring 20 times to the Brazilians’ 12.
Going on the teams’ performances so far, expectations are high for an enthralling encounter, which will take place prior to the hosts’ clash with Uruguay in the final at the Estadio Azteca. The pair’s aggressive attacking styles have meant that five or more goals have been scored in five of their total of 12 games so far in Mexico - three for the young Nationalelf and two for A Seleçãozinha.
Both defences will also have to be particularly wary of being caught on the break, thanks to the gifts of leading scorers Samed Yesil and Ademilson. The former has struck six times and supplied two assists for his fellow German starlets, while the latter has impressed in accruing five goals and two assists for Brazil.
3 – The match for third place has been decided on penalties at three editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with a South American nation emerging victorious on each occasion. Argentina edged Colombia at Finland 2003, Chile downed Poland at Japan 1993 and La Albiceleste again took the final place on the podium against Qatar at Italy 1991.
“I think it’s important we round off the competition with a win. It’d be a real downer for everybody if we went home after a second defeat in a row. It’ll be another tough game for us, since we’re up against a great team,” Brazil forward Lucas Piazon.
“We’d wanted the final to be our last game of the competition. But we’ve now turned our focus onto winning the match for third place and going home with a medal to show for our stay in Mexico,” Germany midfielder Emre Can.