FIFA U-17 WC: India faces 'strong' Ghana challenge

India's performance got better over the last two games; it scored its first ever goal against Colombia in the previous encounter.

India will need to tweak its line-up as there are doubts over the availability of Anwar Ali and Amarjit Singh who suffered injuries in the Colombia game.   -  AP

India could be playing its swansong at the FIFA U-17 World cup here on Thursday as it hosts Ghana in the final Group A fixture, knowing only a miracle will see it progress through to the round-of-16.

Sitting at the bottom of the table in Group A with no points, India will have to beat Ghana (3 points) by at least four goals and hope Colombia (3 points) loses to table topper USA (6 points). Ghana and Colombia are separated by a goal difference, with the South Americans having scored one goal more than the Africans.

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India's performance has gotten better over the last two games — showing lot of heart in the previous encounter against Colombia where it scored its first ever goal — but its biggest test awaits it at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

"We will go for nothing less than a win. Ghana will be a physical as well as a mental challenge for us. They are a strong team who are quick on the ball.

"However, the boys are ready for the challenge that will be thrown in front of them. We will give it our all and aim to create history," opined Matos.

 

Motivated Side

The Portuguese gaffer said the boys are highly motivated for Thursday's game despite the dire situation they find themselves in.

"In my professional life, the motivation is always the 'next game'. And the next game for us is to confirm our progression from how we played against the United States and then Colombia. We want to be better tomorrow. We will fight for a win, whether it is possible or not.

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"If we don't go ahead, we want to finish the competition with a good impression. I think the people are proud of the players, I'm proud as a coach because they gave, not 100 per cent but, 200 per cent and tomorrow they are ready to die for the project," said Matos.

India will need to tweak its line-up as there are doubts over the availability of Anwar Ali and Amarjit Singh who suffered injuries in the Colombia game.

"Anwar Ali and Amarjit were doing only conditional training today. Except these two players, the rest of the squad is ready to play."

Matos also praised the teenage custodian, Dheeraj Singh, but reminded the contribution of the rest.

“I’m lucky to have him (Dheeraj) in a very good condition but the positive for us is that we created six goal-scoring chances in the first two games. Well, the goalkeeper will get attention, either for saving or conceding, the others players have been doing the invisible work."

The game will kick-off at 8 pm.

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