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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

FIFA U-17 World Cup: Why Iran spell double trouble for their opponents

Iran take on Costa Rica in their final FIFA U-17 World Cup Group C clash, aiming to finish with an all-win record.

fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 Updated: Oct 12, 2017 19:08 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Margao
Iran will take on Costa Rica in a Group C clash of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday.
Iran will take on Costa Rica in a Group C clash of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Friday. (Twitter )

In an era when teams prefer to field a lone forward and a bunch of attacking midfielders, Iran are sticking to the tried and tested by using two forwards, who have been mighty effective.

In Allahyar Sayyad and Younes Delfi, Iran – in Group C -- have one of the most potent strike partnerships at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. And Costa Rica will be up against them in their last group match at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.

It helps when they are on same page with their attacking philosophies and are also the best buddies. Not only on field, but while training and travelling they prefer to be together.

Their understanding was so evident when they ripped open the German defence and humiliated the European giants 4-0.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: England coach hopes Premiership clubs buy into youth success)

Double attack

While Sayyad is more direct in his approach, making darting runs at defenders, Delfi likes to move around the 18-yard box. Both make sure they drag defenders with them to create space for the other.

They have two goals each so far and the way they have started, it won’t be a surprise if they finish among the top goal-scorers in the competition.

Both have nice things to say about the other. “Sayyad is a fast attacker and has fighting spirit. He is always hungry to get goals,” says Delfi.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Not ‘sold out’ ! Tickets put back on sale in Kochi)

Sayyad adds: “We’ve been playing together for two years and know everything about each other. Before every match we talk and it helps us implement our tactics.”

Iran coach Abbas Chamanian will again bank on his front two when they face Costa Rica. While Iran have already qualified for the Round of 16, it will be a do-or-die encounter for Costa Rica.

Iran top the group with six points, and Germany are second with three points. Costa Rica and Guinea are third and fourth respectively with one point each.

(Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Stakes high as Germany take on Guinea)

Implementing plans

Iran’s tactics were perfectly implemented by the players in both earlier matches. Against Guinea, they sat back and soaked the pressure before hitting the Africans hard in the second half. Against Germany, they started aggressively and never took the foot off the pedal.

Costa Rica, like Germany, have showed chinks in their armour, which Iran will look to expose and finish the group proceedings with an all-win record.

Of the teams to play here, only Iran have not been affected by the heat and humidity. Costa Rica players looked drained after the first half against Guinea on Tuesday and had goalkeeper Ricardo Montenegro to thank for keeping them in contention.