Tournament favourites Brazil were made to suffer for the first time here at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE, needing a late flurry of goals to beat ten-man Russia 3-1. The Round of 16 game from Abu Dhabi’s Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium saw the Russians, so disappointing in the group stages, put up stiff resistance, only to be undone by a flurry of late goals from Boschilia and Mosquito.
Brazil scored for fun in the group stages with 15 goals from their three games, but they were unable to break down the Russian rearguard in the opening 45 minutes of their last-four clash. The South Americans had a chance after just ten minutes, when Mosquito fired a shot in from the edge of the area that was easily handled by Anton Mitryushkin.
The Russians looked stern at the back and they did a good job of limiting the Brazilians’ chances for most of the opening period. Brazil did manage a good effort on the half-hour mark, however, but Boschilia’s header from a corner-kick was brilliantly saved again by the terrific Mitryushkin. Danilo fired just over from a free-kick at the edge of the area in the 37th minute, but it was all Brazil could muster as they finished the half uncharacteristically scoreless.
They came out with a greater sense of purpose in the second half. Boschilia hit marginally wide after Mosquito had the ball tackled away in the 47th minute. Mitryushkin increasingly had his hands full as the half progressed, blocking and diving away shot after shot from the frenzied Brazilian attackers. Nathan had a good chance in the 52 second minute, but his effort from the edge of the box had its power sapped by a well-timed deflection. Seconds later, Caio’s effort skipped just over the top corner.
With Brazilian pressure mounting in waves, and their shots-on-target number approaching 20, the deadlock finally broke in the 72nd minute. Boschilia was the scorer and he added another goal to make it 2-0 with ten minutes to go as Russia’s stubborn resistance finally gave way. The Europeans managed to claw a goal back in stoppage time through Sergey Makarov before Boschilia added a late insurance goal to make it 3-0 at the final whistle.
While Russia head for home wondering what might have been, Brazil – three-time champions – look ahead of a quarter-final against holders Mexico in what looks like the glamour tie of the quarter-final round.