- Brazil, on one point, must beat Korea DPR to reach last eight
- A Seleçao have featured at every FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
- Forward Kerolin Nicoli introduces us to her team-mates
Brazil have made the journey to Concarneau, where they play Korea DPR on Sunday in their final match in Group B at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018. It is a game they must win, if they are to make the quarter-finals.
Along with dozens of bags, their kit and balls, the team have travelled with guitars belonging to Kerolin Nicoli and Luana Menegardo, a stereo, and a carefree attitude that will ensure they keep on smiling, no matter what happens when they take on the defending champions.
“I told the girls the other day that even if the World Cup ended today, I’d be just as happy because I think we’ve shown what we’re capable of, that we play a different kind of football, and that we’ve got quality.” Those words were spoken by Kerolin, one of the stars of a Seleçao side that is championing jogo bonito at France 2018 and is also striving to achieve more visibility and support for women’s football back in Brazil.
The scorer of two goals against Mexico, the forward wore a big smile, as she agreed to introduce the team and its characters to FIFA.com.
“That’s me!” acknowledged Kerolin, laughing in unison with Gregorio, the team’s press officer, who said: “I wanted to know if she told the truth and she has.”
“My team-mates sometimes tell me to stop because I give them a headache,” admitted the forward.
“Geyse Ferreira (the top-scorer in the South American U-20 Championship). She just loves sleeping.”
The mirror lover
“That’s all of us! We all like to look good and we take our time in making sure we look our best before we go out on the pitch.”
University of Florida centre-half Thais Reiss is the team’s social media expert: “She’s the one who uses it the most and she asks us for a lot of photos.”
“Victoria, the No10, and Isabella, the No14, sing the most and they sing well too,” explained Kerolin.
The late arrivers
The first to get the pre-match atmosphere going, but the last to appear for everything else: “Nicole, Kemelli and Jully, the three goalkeepers.”
“I’m the DJ,” said Kerolin with a laugh, before adding that everyone likes the music she chooses. “We don’t have a lucky song, but we do listen to País do Futebol a lot because it really tells our story,” she said in reference to the MC Guime hit, the video for which features Neymar Jr.
This Brazil team not only listens to music; it dances to it as well: “Ingryd, Karla Alves, Ariadina (who scored the late equaliser against England) and I are the ones who dance the most, but then everyone gets caught up in the moment and we all end up dancing.”
And as if that were not enough, these young Brazilians can also play music: “We play sertanejo and pagode (forms of Brazilian popular music) and gospel music. It helps us pass the time.”