On the eve of India’s historic first ever encounter in a FIFA U-17 World Cup, India U-17 Head Coach Luís Norton de Matos said that the “players are focused and they know what to do” as India gear up to take on the United States tomorrow (October 6) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital.
“We will play as a unit and as a collective force. We will fight strongly as a unit,” he declared.
Asked to dissect the opponent, he maintained: “They are strong on all counts. They have an attacking philosophy and as a coach, I would have to find the solutions. The team has worked very hard in training and I hope it translates onto the pitch.”
“Sargent, Weah, Carleton are all very strong players. They are physical and work very hard, so we have to try and work harder,” Matos further stated.
Despite defender Boris Singh being ruled out due to a red card, the coach isn’t too much perturbed. “When I signed in as a coach I knew Boris will not be able to play the first game. We will have a player ready to do his job.”
In this digital age information on opposing players are easily available on a platter and the coach maintained that India won’t have the advantage being unknown entities.
Meanwhile, USA Coach John Hackworth said India are a „very hard-working team.“
„We had played them in India two years back. The result was in our favour but it wasn’t indicative of the manner they play. I am sure they have improved in last year.“
“In this age, there is information all over the world. Of course, they do not know the exact team we will play. But there is a lot of information out and both teams know much about the other,” he smiled.
The pressure of playing in a tournament of the magnitude of the World Cup is huge especially at such a young age but Team India is totally up for it. “Our players are ready mentally. I tell them that they will never forget this moment. They must enjoy every moment of it be it the ambience, the stadium or the match. It’s not the end of the world if results don’t come our way but I’m sure they will give it their all and make all Indians proud.”