Brazil enter comfort zone

England Under-17 0 Brazil Under-17 2
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The Independent Football

Their elders and supposed betters may not even qualify for next year's World Cup and are making heavy weather of the Copa America but the future of Brazilian football appears in good hands.

Brazil comfortably won the Nationwide Under-17 Tournament, a competition they captured at Under-16 level last year, with a demolition of England, who having gone down to Italy on Wednesday night finished pointless, although under the circumstances the defeat was no disgrace. Not since John Barnes danced his way through the Maracana had England beaten Brazil at senior level and that was in 1984, the year before this side was born.

Since they had already enjoyed a 3-0 victory over the Italians at Wigan, Brazil merely needed a point to take the trophy. Within a quarter of an hour, they had virtually ensured all three with two goals, both of which would have embarrassed the England defence.

First, three defenders allowed Diego da Cunha to check and put through Leo, who, unmarked on the right-hand side of the box, drove his shot emphatically home. If Les Reed, the England Under-17 coach, was annoyed by this, the lack of marking which allowed Rodolfo to head past Nicky Eyre from a subsequent corner left him angry. "The second goal put us back on the ropes," he said. "We lost our shape and we panicked a bit. We do need belief, especially against this 'Brazilian legend' which we have to overcome. But over the two games we have seen four or five players who have the potential to go a long way."

Led by Charlton's Osei Sankofa, of whom Reed said "would have been comfortable in their team", England allowed Brazil far less time and space in a creditable second half. Even before the interval, England had demonstrated they could sting when Lewis Guy's header struck the crossbar and in the 54th minute they were awarded a penalty when Filipe's boot struck Sean Doherty in the face, splitting open his cheek below the right eye and forcing the Everton striker out of the match. However, Scott Brown saw his spot kick comfortably saved.

Reed had expected a physical game but was unamused by some of the champions' tactics. "I find it sad that a side with all this talent should spend so much time trying to run down the clock and play-act when tackled," he said. "And their coach was virtually running the line."

Goals: Leo (4) 0-1; Rodolfo (13) 0-2.

ENGLAND UNDER-17 (3-5-2): Eyre (Tottenham); Hogg (Ipswich), Sankofa (Chelsea), Tillen (Chelsea); Small (Arsenal); McDermott (Newcastle) Gardner (Newcastle), Croft (Manchester City), Brown (Everton); Doherty (Everton), Guy (Newcastle). Substitutes: Proffitt (Manchester City) for Gardner, 25; Long (Charlton) for Doherty, 55; Rooney (Everton) for Guy, 49.

Brazil Under-17 (3-4-1-2): Vitor; Tiago, Filipe, Alcides; Amarildo, Junior, Rodolfo, Dailson; Da Cunha; Luiz Carlos (Diego Barcelos, 52), Leo (Diogo Barcelos, 74). Substitutes not used: Halisson, Rafael, Luiz Ricardo, Chico (gk).

Referee: U Rennie (England).

Man of the match: Rodolfo.

Attendance: 10,000.

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