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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup: Stakes high as Germany take on Guinea

A 0-4 humiliation by Iran denting their confidence, Germany face Guinea in a must-win match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 Updated: Oct 12, 2017 17:02 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, Kochi
Germany will take on Guinea in their final Group C game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday.
Germany will take on Guinea in their final Group C game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday.(PTI )

After a humiliating 4-0 defeat against Iran in Goa on Tuesday, Germany will have a few points to prove when they take on Guinea in their final Group C encounter at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.

Germany, who had huffed and puffed to a 2-1 win over Costa Rica in their opening group encounter, face the possibility of elimination, albeit remote, if they fail to beat Guinea, with the latter needing nothing less than a win to progress to the Round of 16.

The thrashing at the hands of Iran on Tuesday laid bare many of Germany’s frailties, one of them being their inability on that particular day to match the pace with which their opponents started the game.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Spain take on North Korea, look to build on Niger win)

“None of my players reached the level at which they could play. Iran started very fast and aggressively. My players got scared and showed too much respect to the opponents. After the match, I told my players to get over this disappointment and think about the Guinea match,” coach Christian Wuck had admitted after the game.

The Germans had come into the tournament as one of the title favourites. Two games into their campaign, they look anything but the favourites.

Even against Costa Rica, it took them a late goal to labour to a victory. With Guinea likely to employ a more conservative approach than Iran, it remains to be seen whether Germany will make any changes to their line-up and perhaps adopt a more physically aggressive strategy.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Iraq coach dedicates win over Chile to people back home)

Jann Fiete-Arp, their front man, struggled to get touches against Iran, with their supply line down the middle cut off. On that backdrop, it is likely that coach Wuck could change a few things for Friday’s game.

For Guinea, on the other hand, a draw or a defeat will bring down curtains on their campaign.

With Iran more or less assured of top spot in the group owing to their superior goal difference, the Asian side will have very little to play for against Costa Rica.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Honduras lord over New Caledonia in battle of lightweights)

Whether the Iranians play a full-strength side on Friday remains to be seen, but Guinea will be aware that they could end up finishing bottom of the group if they fail to secure a positive result against the Germans.

In their previous group game, Guinea were denied victory by fine saves from the Costa Rica goalkeeper.

It had left coach Souleymane Camara frustrated at the end of the game as their quest for a Round of 16 spot received a major blow.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Mohammed Dawood helps Iraq notch up 3-0 win over Chile)

With Germany struggling early on in the tournament, Guinea, however, have the perfect opportunity to go for the kill on Friday.

Forward Fandje Toure has scored two of Guinea’s four goals in this tournament, and will once again be the key against Germany.

In the game against Costa Rica, they had started with two forwards, and in their search for victory, ended the game with four in the attack.

Such an offensive strategy could prove to be dangerous against Germany, and it remains to be seen if Camara starts with two forwards again or replaces one of them with a midfielder to counter the Germans’ strong presence in the middle.