India colts face smarting Colombia today

After a spirited performance against USA, hosts look for improved show

India colts face smarting Colombia today
It was an unsparing initiation for the Indian colts into the World Cup. Dwarfed they were by the stature and physique of a superior opponent but they did win the respect with their intrepid show.

The wall of challenge will only grow taller for them now. Colombia, who impressed despite their defeat against Ghana, will be desperate to keep their campaign alive. And the minnows present them the ideal opportunity.

Their maiden World Cup outing of India attracted a handsome crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, where poor management left many without water and basic amenities. Despite that the crowd held their places in the stands, chiefly due to the team’s spirited display.

For India, the purpose of the tournament has been to test themselves against the best, and gain the valuable exposure. If UShave given them the taste of the elite level, Colombia in all likelihood, will add to it. After the initial freeze against the US, the Indian teenagers showed glimpses of talent. By the second half, their moves were better constructed, and they shed their defensive approach to move into the US territory. However, the passing and ball possession still begs attention. With the first match now behind them, India now can focus on cutting down the errors.

Komal Thatal caught the eye with his appearance and game alike. His livewire runs, especially off the left flank, were the silverlining for India. Captain Amarjeet Singh Kiyam was a calming force in the midfield, and deftly managed his troops on the field. Stoppers Anwar Ali and Jitendra Singh, too, stood out, not to forget the exceptional job done by Dheeraj Singh under the bar. One would want an equally committed show from them against the Colombians.

The South American nation has entered the World Cup on the back of impressive performances in 2017 U-17 continental championship. There they had beaten countries like Ecuador, Uruguay and Paraguay and had drawn with Venezuela and Chile.

The loss to Ghana has only made Colombia a more dangerous opponent.  Along with Ghana, they had played a high quality football and made it known that the two belonged to a different league altogether. If Ghana was the better amidst the two, despite missing several sitters, Colombia had plenty of positives to take home too. They excelled in passing and dominated the ball possession, but were undone by their rusty finishing. Their No.7 Leandro Campaz, the left-winger, posed continuous threats to the Ghana goalkeeper, and would be the player to watch out for besides midfielder Andres Perera.

Like the Americans, Columbians too have the advantage in physique and experience. The Indians have already realised from their opening match what silly errors can do at this level. Friday night is now behind them. They are now excited to launch another ruthless ride, to find new experiences, and new lessons.

USA meet Ghana

After winning their opening fixturse, Ghana and USA will battle for a knock-out berth in their second Group A match. A victory on Monday can catapult them to the round of 16.

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