Paulinho breaks German hearts, takes Brazil to U-17 semis


An absolutely thumping goal from Paulinho took Brazil to the semi-finals of the U-17 World Cup in style after they came back from a goal down to score two in six minutes in the second half to knock Germany out.

Brazil had looked to be bowing out of the tournament with 20 minutes left in the game after Jann-Fiete Arp gave Germany an early lead. But after scuffing plenty of chances, mainly through centre forward Lincoln, they produced two moments of quality when it mattered.

The first goal, from Weverson, was a rocket of a shot from the left channel after he had been nicely set up by Alan. The second, from Paulinho, came from 25 metres away and was even better.

After playing a fine game up until 70 minutes, Germany were left distraught. Rattled by the two quick goals, they failed to gather any momentum to mount a comeback and force a penalty shootout.

Brazil started the game well, with good possession and attacking intent, but were left stunned as Germany took the lead through Arp. John Yeboah -- who had a lively first half on the right wing, stretching the Brazilians with his quick feet -- was responsible for Germany's first. After finding himself with a scoring opportunity in penalty box, he was fouled by Lucas Halter and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Arp neatly finished to put Germany ahead.

Germany produced chances at will after that. Elias Abouchabaka and Arp came close in the next five minutes before Brazil produced their first shot on goal. Germany were deadly on the counter-attack each time Brazil lost the ball, keeping the men in yellow on their toes throughout the first 45.

Brazil made one change at half-time: Weverson came on for Luan Cândido at left-back. They were better on the ball in the second half, but Germany kept having the better chances. It was after the 60th-minute mark that Brazil started creating threatening opportunities on goal. Lincoln was at the centre of three chances. He had difficulty in converting two of them and his pass had too much in it on the third, where he had the chance to set Paulinho up in front of an empty net.

But the attacking momentum stayed with Brazil as they went on to score two in quick succession to eventually take the game. They had scored a similar come-from-behind win in their first group game against Spain.

Brazil now face England in the semi-finals on Wednesday. It will be their eighth appearance in the last four of the U17 World Cup.