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06 Oct 2017

India take on USA in a tough World Cup opener

FIFA U-17 World Cup: India vs USA

The India U-17 team will kick off their FIFA World Cup campaign by playing against a formidable USA's team in the opener.

This, being a first ever football World Cup tournament for India, every match will be significant in the history of Indian football.

As Indian team lines up against USA as underdogs, let's look at what we can expect from the match.

In context

FIFA U-17 World Cup: India vs USA
Odds are stacked against the hosts

Big gap

Odds are stacked against the hosts

The India U-17 side is a group that was re-assembled in just 6 months by coach Luis Norton de Matos and together they have hardly played any competitive matches internationally.

They will face the US team whose players have spent at least 6-7 years in professional academies.

As admitted by Matos himself, there is a big gap in terms of quality, experience and training.


Defence will be the focus of India's strategy

According to de Matos, India will not play an open game with their main focus being on a strong defence and on not conceding goals.

The team would rely on swift counter-attacking strategy, quickly transitioning from defence to offence.

With a home advantage, the boys in blue led by Amarjit Singh, promise to entertain us with a competitive show.

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US players in MLS and European youth teams

Most of the US players play in Major League Soccer youth teams and few are also part of European clubs. Team captain and striker Josh Sargent, for instance, is set to sign for a Bundesliga club, while Tim Weah, another striker, signed with PSG.

Who all could start for India?

Probable starting XI

Who all could start for India?

The India U-17 starting XI against USA in the first match, could look like this - Dheeraj Singh (GK); defence to be guarded by - Sanjeev Stalin, Anwar Ali, Jitendra Singh, Hendry Antonay; the midfield control in the hands of, Jeakon Singh, Amarjit Singh (C), Suresh Singh Wanjam, Komal Thatal, Abhijit Sarkar, and Aniket Jadhav as the striker.

US coach on not taking India lightly

"We've played India once before, we were successful against them. But it wasn't in the opening game of the World Cup, it wasn't them hosting a World Cup..India are incredibly athletic and hard-working team..it is a difficult challenge," said the US coach John Hackworth.

What could work for us?

Matter of heart and belief

Despite the odds, the entire nation's support for the young lads, and the pride of playing India's first-ever FIFA tournament will be a big factor in pushing the India U-17 forward.

Ironically, the youngsters have nothing to lose yet everything to prove, as they represent the nation on global arena.

As the coach put it, "In football there are no impossibilities."

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