In the end, Brazil Under-17 football team’s deft touches, silken passing and co-ordinated moves were too much for New Zealand’s physical style of play as the South American champions started their preparations for the FIFA U-17 World Cup with a 2-1 victory in a warm-up match in Mumbai on Thursday.
While the scoreline may suggest it was a close contest, in reality, the Brazilians were always in control, dominating the possession, dictating the terms, upping the ante when it was required and threading the crowded New Zealand defence time and again.
The Samba Boys also showed the glimpse of what to expect when the tournament starts on October 6.
With their star man Vinicius Junior to arrive on Saturday, and his partner Paulinho rested as precaution to let his left ankle heal, Brazil started with their “second team” and expectedly struggled to get going.
But as they started to reveal their cards, the gap between the teams became apparent. First came in midfielder Marcos Antonio, a forced change, as a substitute for injured defender Wesley. The Atletico Paranaense player’s introduction pushed New Zealand further into the territory.
At the start of the second half, in came the biggies such as Alan De Souza, who has been courted by Real Madrid, and Victor Bobsin — Antonio’s partners in midfield.
Bobsin, who plays for Gremio, played the role of a defensive midfielder with Alan to his left and Antonio to right — in more attacking roles — to form a triangle which was difficult for the All Whites to decipher, forget break.
Brazil pressed on the throttle further and that produced their first goal within the first few minutes of second half as Bobsin put a brilliant pass to Alan, who then fed it to Brenner for their opener. The second saw Antonio dissect the opposition defence with Brenner once again coming up with a clinical finish.
What the South American showed that they have the capabilities to split up the tightest of formations with their one touch passing. Alan, like a true No 10 was their chief orchestrator, putting in delightful passes one after another and not afraid to shoot from long range when the opportunities came by.
From Pele to Neymar, some of the biggest names in the Brazilian football have donned the No 10 jersey and Alan, who plays for Palmeiras, looks well-placed to carry on that tradition. When Vinicius Junior takes his position upfront, his combination with Alan will have the opponents on tenterhooks.
Only concern for Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu will be the defence, which looked jittery when New Zealand pressed on late in the match, earning a penalty to get one back in injury time.
But overall, he was happy with what he saw out on the pitch as he prepares his team for the first match of Group D against European champions Spain in Kochi on October 7.