The U-17 World cup has already kicked off in the country and the joy, euphoria and ecstacy of the people in India about it is indeed ineffable and at its zenith.
But quite anticlimactically the Indian colts could not match up to the prowess and adept playmaking abilities of the USA squad . Three goals from Josh Sergeant , Chris Durkin and Andrew Carleton helped the United States of America defeat India 3-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Friday .
But all was not lost as the scoreline did not do justice to the Indian squad who troubled their opponents on numerous occasions in the first and second half . ALSO there were flashes of brilliance from forward Aniket Jadhav and midfielder Komal Thatal who impressed one and all.
Coaches comments :
Coach Luis Norton de Matos could not hide his frustration at losing the game in such a manner. “There is a big gap between us and USA. We conceded a bad first goal and we couldn’t make that perfect last pass. Even our transitions could have been better” said de Matos in the post-match press conference.
De Matos also believed that if India had managed to score before Andrew Carleton killed the game with the third goal, the result could have been different. “We needed to score after they went two up. We needed to make it 2-1 and fight after that. The third goal was a punishment for us”.
While the game brought out some great positives for the Indian team there were obvious areas for improvement which they need to look after when they take on Colombia tomorrow:
A lakclusture midfield:
The midfield looked like an imbroglio of inexperienced neophytes. Ninthoinganba Meetei and Amarjit Singh could not perform as per expectations against USA and lacked chemistry.
They are the pillars of the midfield and need to be efficient in the next game against Colombia. Using Jeakson Singh alongside Amarjit would be helpful as they have been pulling strings in midfield since they were six .
Also Abhijit Sarkar and Rahul Kannoly lacked presence up field and need to play with more maturity against Colombia.
Forward Aniket Jadhav was often left alone upfield and had to attack without support against a formidable USA defence and had to take shots from long distances due to lack of better options. It needs to be looked after and using striker Rahim Ali would be a good option.
Komal Thatal also lacked chemistry with Abhijit Sarkar which was visible in a number of attacks against America and is something which India needs to improve on if they want to get a successful result against the mighty Colombians.
Lack of physical presence and ability to maintain possession for a long time:
This was the reason India lost the ball on multiple occasions and could not keep up the pressure on the Americans for long in their previous encounter. Indians need to use their physical ability better if they hope to maintain possession for long periods and score more goals.
In all the colts need to improve on their shortcomings if they want to stand a chance at qualifying to the next round. The game against a formidable Colombian side who are low on morale courtesy their defeat against Ghana in the previous match will be their best opportunity to do so and make the people of India proud once again.
We all hope that India gives their best effort and the best team wins.