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Colombia clash brings India's best chance to open account

Colombia clash brings India's best chance to open account

"We are giving up that privilege as we turn fans of the first ever Indian team to play a football World Cup." . For all the times they have played outside the country in the past year and a half, they have never faced a team that can be considered even close to the United States, or even Colombia and Ghana for that matter, in any department of the pitch.

Now comes Colombia. And maybe the slightest hint of progress? One less goal conceded than against U.S. or even one scored?

The team, promised coach Luis Norton de Matos, will fight. It has been a long time getting to this stage but I believe every good thing takes time before yielding results. India started its campaign with a disappointing loss to the USA. They won a free-kick at the edge of the box but Sargent hit straight at the wall, signaling that the match could be a hard 90 minutes for the Indian defence. There was a moment in the opening half an hour where a Ghanian player lay injured and the entire Colombian team rushed to the touchline for a water break. According to them, India has a slim chance of winning the opening match of the tournament. "It's a moment they should never forget in their lifetime", said Matos on the eve of India's tournament opener against the formidable U.S. at the JLN Stadium. For now, at least. The process starts with the structures and the defence - not just defenders and the goalkeeper but defend as a team. The Americans' results from the fag end of 2016 include a 4-0 win over Brazil and a 7-1 thrashing of Portugal.

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"For us, we will play as a collective unit and try to fight the strength and physique they have. That is why I came here early to witness the match and be a part of history when India will play", Bobin Singh, who was wearing Ghana jersey, said.

The meeting took place at the Lalit Hotel in New Delhi where the team is staying just hours before India's debut in the premier Federation Internationale de Football Association tournament. "It will be a different setting altogether with different tactics and technicalities". The U.S. team should have won the game by more as its finishing was off but the talent gap between the two countries was wide. We have to be on our toes all throughout and have to focus on the task at hand.

U-17 team playing with professional clubs in the I-League, but it could have given them much-needed competitive experience. The disappointment was clear on their faces as the players exited the stadium after the match and although the footballers completely ignored the media waiting for them in the mixed zone, their sombre mood and stooped shoulders spoke a thousand words.

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