It was a dark evening at the opener of the Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi on Friday (October 6). The players were divided into groups of two and they were made to play short passes around a training dummy in order to improve their co-ordination on the field.
Two-time champions Ghana made a flawless comeback to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup after a gap of 10 years by defeating Colombia 1-0 in their inaugural game here on Friday.
Maybe, in home conditions and with a raucous crowd behind them, India can do slightly better. "But, with some more experience, they can play better against teams with calibre", Matos said at the post-match press conference. "I know walking out of the tunnel I had a smile on my face", usa defender Chris Durkin said after scoring the second goal in the Americans' 3-0 victory Friday.
Despite their loss to Ghana, Colombia showed plenty of threat in their opener.
"We are not ready to host big sporting events", hissed an angry expatriate. Left winger Leandro Campaz remained a threat throughout the match. The speed with which they operated during counter attack was a joy to watch. "Colombia is a very physical side".
61': With less than half an hour to go, U.S. are still giving it their best, despite taking a 2-0 lead.
It is for the coach and the support staff to pep them up and tell them their best need be matching the best in the business, but they can make 50,000-odd thousand spectators watching their matches happy. So they have to win the game. "The team was not nervous but excited and we enjoyed the night", Suresh said, describing the moment. India created several risky chances that could have easily been stopped early. "I would like to win". Suresh was part of the side that lost 3-0 to United States of America on Friday in a match in which India paid for small lapses in concentration.
Matos will have a few things working in his favour.
"We are giving up that privilege as we turn fans of the first ever Indian team to play a football World Cup." . Those nerves now appear to be settled and India can concentrate exclusively on the game. Physically, they are far superior to the Indians and they are more experienced.
66': Substitution for US as Acosta comes in for Akinola.
US are the clear favourites in the Group, but India would enjoy the home advantage in today's match. We have a fast player like Aniket which is lucky for us. He hasn't been the first coach to do so. This defensive approach was no match against the more attacking 4-3-3 formation of the USA. Both the teams didn't meet before in any match and it is the first match they are playing.
The Kiwis grew into the match after going behind and their goal came just before the hour mark when Elijah Just took a quick free-kick and found Max Mata alone in the box. It has a not gone unnoticed.
The first goal came from Josh Sargent in the 30th minute off penalty which some thought was a trifle harsh, though Jitender Siongh could have been a little more careful with the foul. "Those are areas we too are looking at", said Restrepo. Indian coach himself looked frustrated by the Indian performance.
On resumption, Colombia's effort was evident but they continued to falter at the finish.
"We have been through a lot". "We will fight to win each match even if there is only five percent chance of winning". Our players will be fighting until the end. The bottles were not allowed inside the stadium and thus the children were made to suffer.
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