U-17 WC: Bolstered England, Chile turn up the heat in Kolkata

The teams have been trying to get used to the unfamiliar heat and humidity ahead of their tourney opener.

England U-17 team's goalkeepers during the training session at the SAI Centre in Kolkata on Wednesday.   -  Y. B. Sarangi

Four days prior to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, one of the star English footballers, Jadon Sancho, bolstered his side by joining the England team's training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) ground here on Wednesday.

Sancho, who was released by his club Borussia Dortmund in the last minute following negotiations between the English football association and the German club, joined the England team on Tuesday. For the time being, midfielder Sancho, who was the player of the event in the UEFA European Under-17 championship in May, is available for the group stage matches from October 8 to 14. “As of now he is playing till the group stage. Let's see what happens after that,” said an official of the English team.

Another prominent face of the side, midfielder Angel Gomes, was the other star attraction at the English team's first training session here. However, it is not known whether the Manchester United player will be available to serve the Young Lions for the whole duration of the event.

‘Equal’

Despite the presence of the two star players in the English team, the Chilean youngsters were positive about putting up a good show against England in their tournament opener on Sunday. “They may be big names but they are equal as us. We will take inspiration from them and will try to do well,” said Chile forward Diego Vaencia. “Both England and Mexico are strong teams (in Group F), but first we are concentrating on the match against England. We are concentrating to play as a unit. The most important part (of our training) is to play as a team.”

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Fellow forward Willian Gama also underlined the strength of England. “England play well with their wingers. So we are preparing to tackle that.”

Meanwhile, both Chile and England have been trying to get used to the heat here. “The basic difference between Chile and India is the heat and humidity. We are trying to adapt to the conditions,” said Valencia.

Perhaps, the England team tried to avoid the heat by having a slightly delayed start to its 4 p.m. training and going through the drills in the shadows.

Iraq was the first team to train at the venue, the Salt Lake Stadium, here on Wednesday evening. Two-time champion Mexico, which will play its first match against Iraq on Sunday, arrived here in the evening.

All Whites train hard

In Mumbai, New Zealand players trained the hardest among four Group B squads stretching and sprinting for two sessions on practice pitches and one session at the match venue, D. Y. Patil Stadium. Turkey, too, joined in to practise.

New Zealand and Turkey will play each other on Friday.

Paraguay and Mali, the other two sides in the group, will practice at the match pitch on Thursday.