New Delhi: India are all set to make their FIFA World Cup debut as they take on USA in New Delhi on Friday. When the Indian colts set foot at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, they will be the first-ever team from the country to play a World Cup in the sport at any level.
India are a part of Group A along with United States, Colombia and Ghana. USA too have a lot to play for as they have never finished better than number four at the tournament.
But USA on paper have a better squad of players compared to India and will be the favourites to triumph in what will only be one of the four matches on the opening day of the tournament.
Ahead of the match, Indian coach Luis Norton de Matos, was quoted to be saying by PTI, “They (USA) will be strong in attack and we have to prepare to counter their attack. We have to be strong in defence.”
“All the games are different, we hope that tomorrow we can play with 12 players. 11 us and 12th, the fans”, he added.
Talking about his approach towards the USA game, the coach said, “As a coach, I am preparing well, players know what to do on Friday. Football is a game where we don’t know what can happen. We are going to fight very hard. Want to write history for Indian football.”
Meanwhile, under-17 India captain Amarjit Singh has also called the fans to unite and cheer for the team. “Fans zaroori hai, fans nahi toh kuch nahi hai (fans are important for us and if they aren’t there to support us, we can’t give our best).”
Amarjit also highlighted the responsibility of the players. “Job of the players is to work hard, coach’s job is to think about tactics and technicality of the game”, he added.
USA coach John Hackworth, on the other hand, said, “We’ve played India once before, we were successful against them. But it wasn’t in the opening game of the World Cup, it wasn’t them hosting a World Cup. My feeling is that, and from the information I’ve heard, there’s going to be a very loud crowd.”
He further added, “They (India) are incredibly athletic and hard-working team. We are going to have to beat the host country in the opening game and that is a difficult challenge.”
India squad: Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal. Defenders: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Hendry Antonay, Namit Deshpande. Midfielders: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Md. Shahjahan. Forwards: Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav.
USA Squad: Goalkeepers: Alex Budnik, Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin Garces. Defenders: Sergino Dest, Christopher Gloster, Jaylin Lindsey, James Sands, Tyler Shaver, Akil Watts. Midfielders: George Acosta, Taylor Booth, Christopher Durkin, Blaine Ferri, Chris Goslin, Indiana Vassilev. Forwards: Ayo Akinola, Andrew Carleton, Jacobo Reyes, Bryan Reynolds, Joshua Sargent, Tim Weah.