Meranews, Ahmedabad: After putting up a brave fight against the US in their Group A opener in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Indian football team turn their eyes to Colombia, with head coach Luis Norton de Matos expressing confidence in the team and insisting that it will give Colombia a run for their money.
“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,” said Matos.
The Indian U-17s h team played Colombia in a Four-Nation Tournament in Mexico City, Mexico, losing 3-0. When asked if the team learned anything from that outing, Matos said, “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 as compared to a friendly match. It will be a different setting altogether with different tactics and technicalities.”
“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 will also give us a tough physical fight but we are ready for it.”
India play Colombia at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday. Colombia lost 0-1 to Ghana in the opening match of Group A, and although the South Americans are level on points with India (both on 0 points), the Indian colts are at the bottom on goal difference. A win for India would keep them in contention for qualification to the next stage of the World Cup.
“Against USA, we had a nervy start and the players were shy and could not play their game against a 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 said.
Skipper Amarjit Singh said, “At the same time we have huge respect for Colombia. They are one of the best teams of their region. But this is a matter of 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,” India’s star forward Komal Thatal said. “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.” (With inputs from ANI)