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U-17 World Cup: India face formidable Colombia

India will eye success against formidable Colombia in their second Group A match on Monday.

Harpal Singh Bedi | New Delhi |

After losing their opener against the US, India will eye success against formidable Colombia in their second Group A match at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday, to stay afloat in the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Both the teams will be looking for a desperate win as neither of the two has tasted a victory yet. Colombia went down to Ghana 0-1, while the US defeated India 3-0 in their respective clashes on Friday.

Indian coach Luis Norton de Matos tried to shrug off the first match blues saying, “The one thing that is important for us is that every game, we’re going to learn. Now that boys have the first experience (of a match), hopefully, they will start against Colombia more confidently because they know what to expect. Every match is a new match as every day is a new day and playing in a FIFA World Cup is a different challenge for both teams. It will be different with different tactics and technicalities.”

“The team will fight to the last minute and play with confidence giving Colombia a run for their money,” he said and added, “Colombia are tough opponents and they possess the necessary elements to hurt us.”

“We have to be on our toes all throughout and have to focus on the task at hand. They (Colombia) will also give us a tough physical fight but we are ready for it. We will play to win. There is no other alternative for us. Every match we play is to win and if we win against Colombia we will be creating history,” Matos stressed.

“The eventual target is to secure progression to the next stage whilst taking one game at a time. The strength of the Indian team is their collective ability to play football as a combined unit and we bank on that factor to help us win against Colombia,” he said.

The coach admitted that he was no happy with the result against the USA.

“We had a nervy start and the players were shy and could not play their game against ay afloat team of the quality of USA. It was their first match ever in a FIFA World Cup and emotions can be a little hard to control when you play in front of 55,000 people for the very first time,” Matos pronounced.

Skipper Amarjit Singh agreed that Colombia is a tough rival.

“They are one of the best teams of their region. But this is a matter in survival for us and we will do everything to be in contention of progression. Winning and losing are part of football. What matters is how well we recover ourselves and learn from our losses and continue to move forward,” said Komal Thatal.

“We will give it our very best as it is a do-or-die game for us if we have to remain in contention of progression,” he said.

Striker Aniket Jadhav brushed aside pressure saying, “Pressure is always there when you play football. We had pressure in the first game and we gave the USA a very tough fight. It will be there against Colombia as well, but this time we are not looking to give a tough fight, we are looking to win.”

“We are all set for the Colombia game and we’ll give our everything. We won’t disappoint you, we won’t disappoint India,” opined midfielder Suresh Singh.

“We need to rectify our mistakes and move on,” he maintained.

“Winning and losing is part and parcel of the game. We are all set for the next game and we’re rearing to give it a shot,” Suresh said.

He, however, felt that there is room for improvement in the offensive areas.

“Our final pass was not up to the mark against the USA. I believe, we can make it better. We have to focus on that,” Suresh added.

He was of the view that Colombia’s high pace can be blunted.

“I believe, their speed can be cancelled out if we focus more on our positioning. If we stay well organised, we can contain them,” Suresh said.