THEIR transformation from rank outsiders to valiant fighters drawing all-round praise, India face another test of character against former champions Ghana in their final group A game of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, here on Thursday.
Technically, the Indian colts could still qualify for the next stage of the U-17 World Cup, given a win against Ghana and courtesy other results going their favour.
Infact the Luis Norton de Matos' side had quite a few chances to score before the eventual equaliser arrived in the 82nd minute. Ghana will be a physical as well as a mental challenge for us.
However, they suffered a narrow 1-0 loss against U.S. and a win against India would seal qualification for them.
"We will go for nothing less than a win".
"Ghana are possibly the strongest team in the group and our biggest challenge will be to stop their two wingers from making those unsafe runs into the box". "I was really impressed, especially with India's second match", says Ghana coach Samuel Febin. "We will give it our all and aim to create history again", Matos said on the eve of the Ghana game.
Referring to his rapport with the teenagers, Hackworth said: "This team, in particular, has been one of those which you just never want to let go". With countries like Brazil, England, Germany and France being a part of the U-17 WC, it's certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for followers of the game to watch some top-quality football, and catch the exploits of some world class players from across the globe in action.
India were solid at the back against the South American side in the last match, but they were not always able to quickly transform their defence into attack as the coach would have liked. "It will be a physically taxing battle against Ghana but I reiterate, we are ready", he pronounced. The pressure is on Colombia to defeat U.S. and ensure that they finish with six points. We have put up a good fight in the U-17 tournament.
The USA squad, gearing up to qualify from the group stage in Under-17 World Cup, feels a sense of responsibility on its shoulder in the wake of the men's team missing the bus for Russian Federation 2018 after losing to Trinidad & Tobago in the North American Qualifiers. "Against Ghana we will need a lot of support".
Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem has been the star performer for India so far. To me, the team is a dark horse, but I'm proud to see them compete against teams that have had so many more advantages in terms of advanced training, equipment and exposure. "Come and back the blue", he stated.