FIFA U-17 World Cup: Germany determined to stay on till ‘last day’ of tournament
There is no pressure on us,” says Germany coach Christian Wuck when quizzed about the burden of expectations the European giants carry into the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Skipper and midfielder Erik Majetschak and Goalkeeper Luca Plogmann give a nod of approval as their coach makes the statement on the eve of their opening Group C match against Costa Rica.
Germany have never won the Under-17 World Cup, with their best finish coming at way back in 1985 when they finished runners-up. But this German team is the strongest they have ever put out at this level, and in coach Wuck’s words: “One of the best group of attacking players I have ever worked with.”
Germany scored 36 goals – qualifying and finals included – during the Under-17 European Championship where they lost in the shootout to eventual champions Spain in the semifinals.
The likes of forward Jann-Fiete Arp and midfielders Elias Abouchabaka and John Yeboah have the ability to destroy any opposition, as they showed in their continental championship, and their opponents would be chalking out their plans to negate their threat.
Hamburg’s Arp was the top-scorer at Under-17 Euro with seven goals, including two hat-tricks. RB Leipzig’s Abouchabaka netted three while assisting several and six other players got a goal each.
Skipper Majetschak is clear what the team needs to do – score many goals. “We scored a lot of goals at Euro and we want to score a lot of goals. We always keep in mind we are a very offensive team,” he said.
So what are Costa Rica’s plans to keep them at bay? “We know all about Germany’s attacking prowess. But we have our plans ready,” said their coach Breansse Camacho Viquez, without going into details.
Costa Rica had a very good defensive record in the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship and they will bank on those skills and team unity to overcome a German side, which will also have a physical advantage.
Besides Germany’s good form, coach Wuck is also banking on luck which deserted the team against Spain in the U-17 Euro.
“The first objective is to win games and get through the group stage. Also, we need a bit of luck. We’re a very strong team but we know from the European Championship that to reach the first place we need a little bit of luck. In Europe, we didn’t have luck in the game against Spain. We hope we will be in India till the last day,” said Wuck.
But he isn’t putting undue pressure on his wards to get those results. “First of all, they have to believe in themselves. It’s very important to believe in yourself. They have to be strong, express themselves. They should play football like the Germans,” he said.
While the Germans are at full strength they will be missing their first choice goalkeeper Christian Fruchtl, who couldn’t make the trip as Bayern Munich wanted a back-up goalkeeper after Manuel Neuer was ruled out for a long period through injury.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- To accommodate the new women, the size of the board was increased from 35 to 45. Several resignations on Tuesday also created more space.
- Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu and Atletico de Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano host games on alternate weekends all through the LaLiga season.
- The final list of 28 players will be announced after the Indian Super League final.