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Guam excited to host first-ever FIFA World Cup qualifiers at home

India's Road to Russia 2018

India's Road to Russia 2018

The Guam national team is preparing to host Turkmenistan (June 11) and India (June 16) in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup Preliminary Joint Qualifiers. The two matches will be Guam’s first-ever FIFA World Cup qualifiers at home.

Guam featured in the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers which happened to be their first and last participation in a FIFA World Cup qualifiers till date. The “Matao” finished last in their First Round Qualifying Group which was played in at the Takhti Stadium in Tabriz, Iran.

“It’s literally a dream come true. This is what kids dream of. It’s A) to be on the national team, and B) to play in the World Cup Qualifiers and then eventually the World Cup,” Guam national team captain Jason Cunliffe told the Pacific Sunday News.

“To be able to play in front of my parents, with everyone I grew up, with my kids in the stands — it’s almost unfathomable. I take much pride at this opportunity and take this very seriously in getting myself prepared individually.”

Guam’s national team coach Gary White agrees to the statement made by his captain. “The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the planet. It’s bigger than the Olympics,” said the Englishman.

“This is the first time ever this competition will come to Guam, and those people who want to see a high-level, world-class event should come and show their country’s pride.”

Talking about the upcoming matches againt Turkmenistan and India, White said, “We’re focusing on our playing style. That’s what got us into this position. The majority time will be spent on our way of playing and focusing on what we do best.”

“Our style is very attack-minded. We aren’t going to sit back. We’re the home team so we want to give the crowd a very exciting game — we’re going out to win the game. At the same time, we’ll make sure we are disciplined when we are defending.”

The Guam national team is currently having a preparation camp at the LeoPalace Resort in Guam and the team will remain at the same place until June 17.