FIFA U-17 WC 2017: India go down to USA

India go down to USA
Team India went down fighting against USA in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 Group A encounter
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017
Group A
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
India 0-3 USA
USA: Josh Sargent(Penalty 30th), Chris Durkin(51st), Andrew Carleton(84th)

INDIA: Dheeraj Singh (GK); Sanjeev Stalin, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali; Suresh Singh, Amarjit Singh (C) , Rahul K.P, Abhijit Sarkar (70’ - Rahim Ali), Komal Thatal, Ninthoinganba Meetei (70’ - Nongdamba Naorem), Aniket Jadhav.

History was created at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi when the Indian U-17 team took the field against USA U-17 in the Group A encounter of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, thus becoming the first ever Indian team to participate in an official FIFA tournament.

Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi graced the huge crowd with his presence and congratulated the young boys for their campaign. AFC President Sheikh Salman bin-Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and the President of AIFF Mr. Praful Patel were also present.

Indian Coach Luis Norton de Matos opted for a more cautious approach as the hosts played the more defensive of two teams. Playing in front of around 40,000 capacity crowd for the first time coupled with an opponent of the stature of USA was never an easy task. The defense soaked the pressure well despite except for some guilt edged chances falling for the visitors. Dheeraj Singh was called into action in the 5th minute when he produced a fine save to deny USA U-17 skipper Josh Sargent in a one-on-one situation. However, it was Sargent who was the first one to register himself on the scoreboard as he converted from the spot, after Jitendra Singh fouled him just inside the box as the  with referee pointing to the spot. India ended the half in a positive note making some good moves.

Switching over, Indian team showed more desire to win possession as they pressed USA. It was Josh Sargent who once again came close to scoring his second only to be denied by Indian custodian Dheeraj again. USA doubled their lead shortly after Durkin's snapshot found the net after being fed from a corner.

India's best chance of the match fell to Komal Thatal, after a long ball from Suresh was misjudged by the USA defense but Komal's attempted lob blazed pass the goal with the goalkeeper already beaten. Substitution by Matos seemed to have brought a new life to the Indian team as they seemed to take over the control from the visitors. Komal's corner in the 82nd minute found defender Anwar Ali unmarked but his shot struck the woodwork as USA launched a threatening counter attack with numbers behind the ball. A through ball over the top found Carleton all alone, as he rounded the impressive Dheeraj before slotting it to an empty net.

The match ended 3-0 in favor of USA U-17.

For India, they could surely take few positives from the game with individual performances from Dheeraj and Komal Thatal being the highlights. Also, Matos can take many positives from the performances considering that USA U-17 team are far more superior than Indian U-17 team in terms of quality and the Indian team were never really outclassed. The Indian team were more cautious in their approach and probably its the adrenaline rush got the better of them in the early stages of the first half. USA midfielders were offered too much freedom and time on the ball as the boys in Blue were more content on keeping their shape intact and forming defensive screens than to retain possession.

India take on Columbia in their next game on 9th October 2017. Kick off at 8 PM IST.
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About Debraj Banerjee

Hi, I am Debraj Banerjee from Adra, West Bengal. A keen follower of Indian football and always an optimist that the game will get the recognition it truely deserves. What we ask from you is your support and one day the dream might turn true. Fingers crossed for Indian football. Cheers!

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