FIFA U-17 World Cup: USA, Ghana aim to seal qualification into knockout round
Both USA and Ghana won their opening games of the FIFA U-17 World Cup and will look to book a berth in the knockout stages when they take on each other in a battle of Group A’s heavyweightsfifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 08, 2017 22:11 IST
USA got off to the ideal start in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, defeating hosts India in front of a jam-packed crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
They currently sit atop the Group A standings ahead of Ghana, who have the same number of points but an inferior goal difference after their 1-0 win against Colombia.
Both sides will now look to seal their spot in the round of 16 when they go up against one another in what is sure to be a hotly-contested affair.
But USA’s win over India, although morale-boosting, didn’t see them put in the best of overall performances. This is something even USA manager John Hackworth admitted.
“We didn’t play well, but full credit to India. They were organised and there was no space to play through,” he said in the post-match press conference.
These sentiments were also echoed by American midfielder Chris Durkin, who had scored the second goal of the game against India. “I think we got complacent at times today. We can definitely play better.”
Ghana will be a much harder side to break down given their defensive coordination and the American forwards will need to do more than just rely on the mistakes of the opposition if they are to win this game.
The Black Stars aren’t without issues of their own. Their solidity at the back saw them emerge victorious against Colombia but they will need to create more chances against an American side that love to score.
In the first game, Ghana looked fluid in the first half but they lost some of their spark as the game wore on. That will need to be rectified ahead of the clash against USA.
Attack vs team work
USA base their game around skillful attackers who look pressure opposition defences early on in the hopes of a fast goal.
Ghana, on the other hand, focus on maintaining a strong defensive shape and hitting teams with swift counter-attacks when the chances arise.
But despite Ghana’s defensive organisation against Colombia being top-notch, their coach is ensuring they leave no stone unturned going into the crucial group fixture.
“We are aware of USA’s attacking power and have studied their videos to prepare for the game,” said Ghana coach Paa Kwesi Fabin in a chat with Hindustan Times on the eve of the game.
He further added that his side’s midfield organisation will need to improve if they are to emerge victorious in this game.
“In the first game, I was really impressed by our defence but I think the midfield needs to gel better.”