It is true that venues do not win matches. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Brazil had never lost at Vina del Mar’s Sausalito stadium in FIFA competitions until their 3-0 defeat by Nigeria in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 quarter-finals.
In total, this unblemished record stretched to six matches: four at the 1962 FIFA World Cup™ and two at the current competition. Furthermore, it is worth noting that even though they were eventually soundly beaten by the Nigerians, for 15 minutes the Auriverdes looked on course to chalk up their seventh consecutive victory in this beautiful city, a popular tourist destination whose shores are lapped by the Pacific Ocean.
“We knew that if we wanted to win, we had to make the most of any chances that we created, especially if we were in control of proceedings at any point,” Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu said after the game. “We’d have liked to see how Nigeria would’ve reacted to going behind. But we wasted our opportunities and then they scored three goals in five minutes, so we’ll never know.”
Rather than being sad or disillusioned, the tactician appeared at peace with the result and sought to accentuate the positives. “I haven’t stopped to think whether or not having dominated them so heavily for 15 minutes is a consolation,” he told FIFA.com. “If you look back at the goals, none of them came from us losing our balance. That only happened after the third goal.”
Elaborating on this point of view, Amadeu added: “For the opener, the No9 [Victor Osimhen] deserves the credit. We knew that he likes to sneak behind his markers at the far post and had prepared for that, but he got on the end of a good cross and produced a fine header.
“For the second goal, it was a long ball from the keeper that the No9 helped on into the middle the only way he could and his team-mate scuffed his shot, which hit the ground and bounced in. The third almost trickled in after our goalkeeper let it slip through his hands. It was an individual error, but one that is acceptable in this age group.”
Amadeu explained what instructions he gave his players at half-time: “I asked them not to lose their heads. If you come out gung-ho against Nigeria and leave gaps, you can end up getting thrashed. That’s why I preferred for us to keep our shape and try to nick a goal without getting desperate. If we’d scored, that would’ve been the time to go for broke in search of more goals.”
The coach admitted that spirits in the dressing room were not at their highest, but sounded an upbeat note. “For 34 days these kids gave their all, so they should go away with a clear conscience. They were dedicated in their efforts and they dreamed of being champions. They didn’t achieve that, but they should still go away with a clear conscience. Everything they’ve been through here is part of their learning curve.”