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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Germany, Colombia look to learn from past to seal future

Germany and Colombia face in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Round of 16 with both sides hoping to learn from lessons they learned from tough moments in the group stages.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 15, 2017 20:01 IST
Shayne Dias
Shayne Dias
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Germany national under-17 football team
Jann-Fiete Arp-led Germany will take on Colombia in their Round of 16 clash of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. (Twitter )

Germany and Colombia have taken similar routes to the knockout stages of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Whilst there is no questioning the quality both sides possess, they had to come back from tough losses in the group stages to make it to the Round of 16.

How much Germany and Colombia have learnt from their setbacks in the group stages will be known when they clash in the first Round of 16 game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

After Colombia lost their first game to Ghana in Group A, they had to win the next two games to qualify from a tough group. Germany too, after suffering a somewhat shocking 4-0 defeat to Iran in Group C, had to dig deep to beat a resilient Guinea to book their tickets to New Delhi.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Pre-Quarterfinal lineup and match schedule)

Germany coach Christian Wuck admitted his side could have done better against Iran, but was also quick to praise the Asian U-16 championship runners-up.

“Iran were better than us on the day, hence we lost 4-0. Their team is strong, good and impactful. We had no idea how to deal with them,” Wuck told a media interaction on match eve.

Germany did well to bounce back from that heavy defeat and qualify and Wuck said his side will need to maintain the momentum of the Guinea victory if they are to stand any chance of beating Colombia.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil, England and Iran dominate group stages)

“Colombia did very well to qualify out of what was a close, tough group. I think Tomorrow will be a close game. Their players are fast and strong. We have to approach the knockout game the way we did against Guinea.”

Germany overcame a resilience Guinea 3-1 to qualify as the second team from Group C.

Tactical switch aids Colombia

Whilst Germany relied on grit and passion to take them home against Guinea, Colombia coach Orlando Restreppo realised he needed to switch tactics if his side were to harbour hopes of making it out of Group A where Ghana and USA were the other tough opposition.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil look prepared to end 14-year title drought)

Juan Penaloza’s double saw them home against a buoyant India, but the coach changed his formation and tactics against USA and it worked out well. This tactical fluidity is something he intends to continue working on.

“We always look to play possession football and take the game to the competition. But we applied a different strategy against USA and it worked.

“We changed formation from 4-3-1-2 to 3-4-1-2 and also focused on recovering the ball quicker whenever we lost it. But we might look to change our tactics the next time too, who knows?” Restreppo told the pre-match media conference.

Tactical flexibility is indeed an integral part of modern football and it will serve Colombia well to continue to adapt depending on the opposition. It’s a stark departure from their approach coming into the tournament, which was to focus on their own game and not the opposition.

Germany and Colombia learnt a lot from their defeats, and took their second chances well. However, the winner of this Round of 16 encounter will be the team that can apply their learning in a situation where defeat doesn’t come with a second chance.

First Published: Oct 15, 2017 19:50 IST