FIFA U-17 World Cup: Unfancied Iran, Guinea look to create impact
Iran and Guinea are not among the heavyweights of world football but that isn’t stopping them from dreaming big at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
They will lock horns in the second match on Saturday at the Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium and both want to start their campaign with a win under their belt, which will set them up from the rest of the tournament.
Iran finished runners-up at the AFC U-16 Championship losing to Iraq in the final held at the same venue last year. Guinea upset the odds at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, finishing third, ahead of some more illustrious opponents.
What works in favour of both the teams is that there is nothing to lose and that will help them go all out on Saturday.
Iran’s midfield mainstay Mohammad Sharifi, who is being labelled the ‘next big thing’ in Iranian football, wants to do better than his predecessors. “We have been together for the last three years. We also have the experience of playing on this ground. We have had good results and are really looking forward to this tournament,” said Sharifi.
Guinea midfielder Sekou Camara wants to make sure his team gets those three points and then focus on the second match to book a knockout berth.
Iran has had a very good buildup to the tournament, which included a victory over France during a friendly, but coach Abbas Chamanian doesn’t want to dwell on those results, “That was a friendly,” said Chamanian, before adding, “The situation in the main tournament will be different. We have to be focused on the job ahead.”
During the AFC Under-16 Championship, Iran were slow off the blocks but regained composure to make it to the final. Chamanian is aware of those slow starts and believes that there will be a much improved performance by the team in the World Cup.
Guinea coach Souleymane Camara feels his team can achieve something special as they made it to the World Cup at the expenses on some quality African teams.
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