Tournament favourites Brazil lived up to their billing as they scored a convincing 2-0 victory over Niger to top Group D in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, on Friday. The three-times champions, who enjoyed possession against a spirited Niger outfit, scored through Lincoln (4th minute) and Brenner (34th). Debutants Niger gave a good account of themselves and performed better in the second half and had their share of chances, but found the rival keeper Gabriel Brazao a hard nut to crack. Brazil topped the group with nine points, while Spain, who beat DPR Korea at Kochi in the day's other match, finished second with six points.
Brazil, Spain, Ghana, Colombia, Paraguay, Mali, Iran, Germany, France and England are the 10 teams that have made it to the Round of 16. The other six teams to qualify will be decided on Saturday after the end of Group E and F league engagements.
Niger, who finished third with three points still have a chance to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams. DPR Korea finished last without a win.
Brazil once again enthralled the capacity Goan crowds with their one-touch play and sublime skills, taking an early lead in the fourth minute.
Midfielder Victor Bobsin, from the right, initiated the move and relayed the ball to Paulino, who ran down the flank and beat the rival defence with a low cross. Lincoln, who was lurking in the danger zone, deftly placed the ball into the back of the net.
The goal spurred Brazil and Lincoln could have scored again two minutes later but was unlucky to see his header hit the bar.
Brazil kept on the pressure as they made forays deep into the rival half and Niger keeper once again had to make a diving save from Marcos Antonio's shot from top of the box midway into the first half.
Niger, who played with five defenders, found it difficult to keep the marauding Brazilian attack at bay even as they resorted to hard tackle and defender Dijbrilla Ibrahim was shown a yellow card for a foul on Vitinho.
Brenner, who took a 20-yard free kick, directed the ball to the far corner of the net even as the rival keeper dived but could not save his team from conceding its second goal.The club, which was bought by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, is not implicated in the Swiss investigation.