At a street corner leading to the Fatorda Stadium, a vendor was already selling the Brazilians colours on Thursday.
The Samba Boys, because of their Portuguese connect, have a special place in the hearts of the locals and the organisers are hoping the stadium will be full when Brazil come out for their last Group D game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup against Niger on Friday.
“It’s a pleasure for us to be back in Goa. We felt really welcomed the last time we were here. We have very positive memories about Goa because we won the BRICS Cup. We look forward to another good reception tomorrow,” said Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu.
Brazil have showed great attacking flair so far, churning out two victories on the trot to qualify for the Round of 16. It’s not easy when you lose your biggest player just before the start of the event. Vinicius Junior, Brazil’s top scorer at the South American Championship, wasn’t released by his club Flamengo and was later reported injured.
But Brazil have not missed Vinicius. Their first result was a come-from-behind 2-1 win over European champions Spain. The second was a comfortable 2-0 victory over a dogged North Korea.
“Vinicius is a great player, but we don’t miss him. We have to give confidence to the guys who are here. All of them have potential and as a collective they are at the strongest,” said coach Amadeu.
In the forefront of the wins have been forwards Lincoln and Paulinho, who scored a goal each in both the matches and made sure the absence of Vinicius Junior was not felt by the Selecao.
Brazil touched down in Goa from Kochi on Wednesday. On Thursday, they had a light training session.
While the South American champions will look to end the group proceedings with a 100 percent record, the Africans need at least a point to keep their chances of entering the knockouts alive.
“We had a high percentage of possession against (North) Korea and also Spain. Both the teams sat back and were defensively organised.
“We did manage to infiltrate it at times but we couldn’t score. We had around 27 shots on goals (both matches combined). The most difficult part which is to create opportunities we did but we just need to be more relaxed when we are shooting at the goal,” said Amadeu.