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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Onus on US U-17 boys to make up for senior team’s heartache

After the senior USA team failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in 2018, the onus now lies with U-17 boys to show that structure in country is in good shape when they take on Colombia in FIFA U-17 World Cup on Thursday.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 11, 2017 17:53 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup,2018 FIFA World Cup,John Hackworth
USA are already through to the round of 16 of FIFA U-17 World Cup after registering two wins out of two.(PTI)

With their senior team suffering a heartbreak of failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 after losing to Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, the United States junior boys will have a point to prove at the ongoing FIFA Under-17 World Cup football tournament.

As the US U-17 team take on Colombia on Thursday in their final group game, the pressure will be the likes of Josh Sargent and Tim Weah to put up a strong showing and prove their football structure is in good shape.

The US will be tested to the full by their South American opponents but will derive confidence from having started the tournament strongly, sealing their place in the knockouts with minimum fuss. Having been stunned by Ghana in their opener, Colombia have all to play for to keep their tournament hopes alive.

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Despite an easy game against hosts India, it is a tough group with US (six points from two games), Colombia (three from two) and Ghana (three from two) clubbed together. But, there is hope even if you finish third as there are four slots for the third best teams, apart from the top two teams getting a place in the round of 16.

The US coach John Hackworth declared they would be going all out against Colombia in their bid to top the table.

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“I would love to have that situation (to experiment, having already qualified), but unfortunately that’s not the case - Colombia is an excellent opponent. And at the moment, Colombia, Ghana or us all could win the group. And winning the group is important here, because not only you remain in Mumbai for the next game but you also get five days rest,” said Hackworth.

On the other hand, Colombia have yet to find their rhythm. They were scrappy against India and would have had their hearts in their mouth when India scored late in the match. They were fortunate to restore the lead immediately but they have yet to come up with persistent attacking play, the hallmark of South American teams.

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 17:26 IST