- Brazil win a FIFA-run World Cup at home for the first time
- Young Seleção side lift trophy in front of Cafu and Ronaldo
- Newly crowned world champs hope to earn promotion to U-20s and senior side
In defeating Mexico 2-1 in the final of the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup™ at the Estadio Bezerraoao on Sunday, Brazil’s U-17 team achieved an unprecedented feat. For the first time ever in an 11-a-side tournament, A Seleção were crowned world champions in their own country, in contrast to the disappointing senior-team FIFA World Cup™ experiences in 1950 and 2014.
And for the winners, hoisting this prestigious trophy in front of such ecstatic home fans may open the door to a long and successful career with the Brazilian national team.
“The generation born in 2002, even those who were not included in this squad, are all part of this. We deserve the Cup – we’re undefeated, after all,” said Yan Couto, who provided the impressive assist for Lazaro’s clinical winning goal in the final. “We have to think big – to think about eventually earning a place in the senior team and maybe even playing in a World Cup one day.”
Recipient of the adidas Golden Ball award at Brazil 2019, Gabriel Veron also believes he could go a long way while wearing the famous yellow jersey.
“I think many of us will pursue a professional career and end up making something of our lives,” said the confident forward, who hails from Assu, a small town in the north-east of Brazil. “They must be happy for me; I’ve propelled Assu up onto the global stage!”
Cafe and Ronaldo look on
In addition to the excited supporters in attendance in Brasilia, the hosts were able to count on some special backing during the final against El Tri. World Cup winners Cafu and Ronaldo watched the match, and participated in the awards ceremony afterwards. Their presence had a particularly emotional impact on Brazil captain Henri, who was charged with being the first to hold the trophy aloft.
“Cafu was standing right beside me – it was crazy,” said the smiling skipper. “And Ronaldo too! Both those players were always an inspiration to me. When I first saw Cafu, my eyes widened, and my heart started racing.”
Another player who looks up to established Seleção stars is shot-stopper Matheus Donelli, winner of the adidas Golden Glove award. “Alisson is a great ’keeper who’s performing at the highest level in Europe and with Brazil, and he played at the last World Cup,” he explained. “He’s certainly a player who inspires me – he’s a bit of a role model for me as I continue to evolve as a goalkeeper.”
As for Kaio Jorge, scorer of Brazil’s equaliser six minutes from time, he could be seen out on the pitch waving the flag of the state of Pernambuco, an area that has already produced a world champion footballer: Rivaldo. “I’m so happy that we’ve won the Cup. Rivaldo was a great player, and it makes me happy that I come from the same place. Pernambuco has some quality players. I’m grateful to be carrying this flag,” concluded the humble No9, who finished third-top scorer at Brazil 2019, and who is another player with a bright future ahead of him.