Lucio: U-17 World Cup a gateway to senior international football
Still playing at 41, the defender will be cheering the hosts on at Brazil 2019
Lucio played at three FIFA World Cup™ competitions with Brazil, winning one
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Not many players have as extensive an international career as Lucio had with Brazil. The central defender, who is still playing his trade at the age of 41, first played for his country at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Sydney 2000 and then appeared at three FIFA World Cup™ competitions, hoisting the Trophy aloft at Korea/Japan 2002.
Capped more than 100 times for his country, Lucio now lives in Brasilia, where he plays for local club Brasiliense, and is keenly awaiting the chance to watch the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™. The veteran defender believes the host nation’s young players could stake a claim for a place in the senior national team if they impress in less than a month's time.
“If they perform well, they can catch someone’s eye,” he told FIFA.com. “We know there will be a lot of people watching the tournament and it’s an ideal age to make a breakthrough. You can really increase your chances and you might even get a call-up to the full national team.”
The central defender added: “The expectation is huge and they’ll all be hoping and dreaming of making the senior Brazil team one day. It’s another source of motivation for them, aside from winning the world title in the age group. They’ll be nervous but in a positive way.”
The fact that the U-17 World Cup is being held on Brazilian soil has added to the former Seleção player’s sense of anticipation. Born in Planaltina, in the federal district of Brasilia, he knows very well what the Brazilian capital has to offer as one of the tournament’s host cities.
In recent years, Brasilia has hosted matches at the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with both events making use of the Estadio Mane Garrincha, a ground with a capacity of over 70,000.
“The city has the right infrastructure for staging an event like this,” he said. “It hosted the World Cup in 2014 and some of the matches at the 2016 Olympics. Brasilia has acquired international experience. The fans are going to be right behind the team and we’re looking forward to being there and watching some exciting games.”
As far as the U-17 World Cup is concerned, Brasilia’s matches will be hosted at the Estadio Bezerrao, situated in the city of Gama, some 30km outside the capital. The first of them will be Brazil’s opening game, against Canada on 26 October, when the hosts will have the privilege of World Cup winner Lucio cheering them on from the stands.