Kochi: Having won all their three group matches with ease, South American giants Brazil will start clear favourites when they take on the unfancied Honduras in a pre-quarterfinal match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Wednesday. Seeking their fourth title, Brazil won all their matches to top Group D. They began with a dominating 2-1 win over title-contenders Spain and then outplayed both North Korea and Niger with identical 2-0 margins to set up a round of 16 clash with Group E's third-place finishers Honduras.
But they are not expected to have it this easy against the South American giants, who have been in excellent form so far. Besides winning all three of their group matches, they have conceded just one goal while scoring six. Their strike duo of Lincoln and Paulinho have been deadly up front, ensuring that Brazil did not feel the absence of a certain Vinicius Junior.
The duo have shared five goals between them of the total six scored in the group stage -- the other goal coming from Brenner -- and their on-field understanding has been excellent.
With the football-mad Kochi crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium set to support Brazil overwhelmingly, it is going to be a tough job for Honduras to keep the Brazillian attackers at bay.
This will be the last time the Kochi crowd will see the Brazillians in this FIFA U-17 World Cup and the South American champions will be up against a confident Germany in the quarterfinals in Kolkata on October 22 if they beat Honduras.
Brazil and Honduras have earlier faced each other once at the U-17 world finals. The current Honduras coach Jose Valladares was on duty at the first meeting, at UAE 2013, when the Brazilians won 3-0.
If Honduras can hope to counter the Brazilian threat, they need to take the chances which come their way and cut out the defensive errors that cost them against Japan and France in the group phase.
The Central Americans lost to Japan 1-6 and 1-5 to France but beat tournament debutants New Caledonia 5-0 to collect three points in Group E and qualify as one of the four best third place teams.
They scored seven goals but conceded 11. The Los Catrachos have done better than their group stage elimination at the last edition in Chile but it will be a miracle if they get past a formidable Brazil and make it to the quarterfinals as they did in UAE 2013.
Teams (From): Brazil: Gabriel Brazao, Wesley, Vitao. Lucas Halter, Victor Bobsin, Weverson, Paulinho, Marcos Antonio, Lincoln, Alan, Lucao, Matheus Stockl, Rodrigo Guth, Luan Candido, Victor Yan, Rodrigo Nestor, Vitinho, Yuri Alberto, Brenner, Yuri Sena.
Honduras: Alex Rivera, Santiago Cabrera, Axel Gomez, Alexander Bahr, Cristian Moreira, Luis Palma, Jorge Flores, Gerson Chavez, Patrick Palacios, Alessandro Castro, Kenneth Martinez, Jordy Castro, Gustavo Vallecillo, Carlos Mejia, David Cardona, Asaf Cacho, Everson Lopez, Joshua Canales, Reynaldo Bodden, Emilio Campos, Carlos Banegas.