India's chances slim: de Matos

India's chances slim: de Matos

Under-17 coach says it will be tough but his side will give it all

India's chances slim: de Matos

India's under-17 football head coach Luis Norton de Matos admitted his wards' chances are “small” in the upcoming FIFA World Cup but promised they would be competitive against the world's best.

Hosts India have been drawn into Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. They will open their campaign against the USA on October 6, before facing Colombia on October 9 and Ghana on October 11.

“I am realisitic. Our chances are small but we have a winning mentality. We will give our cent percent; even if we have less chance of winning the match, we will be competitive. In football you never know. My goal is to show the world that the Indian team can play at par with the best of the world,” the 63-year-old Portuguese told reporters here on Thursday.

On the dias, he was flanked by two under-17 players, Shubham Sarangi and Rahul KP, who play as striker and winger. The two teenagers named their match against Portuguese Club side Benfica SL, where India came back from two goals down to level at 2-2, as their memorable moment in past months.

Nodding, De Matos continued: “We have prepared very well in the last few months. The team has progressed a lot and with less than 2.5 months to go, we are confident. We had been to Europe for an exposure tour, have played 25 friendly matches. Sevilla was the toughest the boys played.”

The difference between India, who have not much history of world football, and the other world teams is, De Matos believes, the experience. “Teams like Ghana, US and Colombia have the experience of playing a lot of competitive matches, in tournaments," said De Matos, who replaced German Nicolai Adam who was sacked after complaints of physical and verbal abuse by the players.

"But we have improved a lot since I came in March. 6-7 players have been added from the earlier one (under Nicolai Adam). It is important that we play organised football. The coming months are crucial. We have spent hours on developing the passing technique and playing in close quarters. We are trying out a lot of formations, combinations and working out on how to react to different situations."

The team would now be flying to Mexico to participate in a tournament featuring Mexico, Chile, and Colombia in August. They will also be playing international friendlies against Mali, Australia, and other Countries.

“We will know where we stand.”

He also ruled out that India would get advantage of conditions against the visiting African and American teams.

“It may affect European sides a bit, but not others as weather is more or less the same," he said.

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