USA focussed on winning U-17 title after senior team’s WC fiasco

USA has already progressed to the Round of 16. It will look to book the top spot in Group A when it plays Colombia on Thursday.

USA will keenly follow the fortunes of Ayo Akinola as he is one of the promising strikers who can make it to the senior team in the near future.   -  AP

 

The United States squad, gearing up to top the group in the U-17 World Cup, will feel the burden of responsibility on their shoulders after the senior men’s team missed the bus for Russia 2018 by losing to Trinidad & Tobago in the North America zone on Tuesday night.

For the first time in 32 years, USA will not feature in a FIFA World Cup.

READ: All eyes on Joshua as USA takes on Colombia

On the eve of the Group B tie at the D.Y. Patil stadium here, chief coach John Hackworth told FIFA.com: “We have prepared to win all games here. We know Colombia is going to be an excellent opponent and it won’t be easy, but at the same time, that’s what we’re here to do.

“We’ll do the same exact process to get ready for Colombia, and see how it goes.”

Hackworth, referring to his rapport with the teenagers, said. “This team, in particular, has been one of those teams that you just never want to let go. We have tried to talk about the fact that we potentially play seven games here and every one of these moments is huge for us because it’s just been such a special group.”

The nation’s hopes now rest on the U-17 players and Ayo Akinola, who came on as substitute against Ghana to net the winner, is likely to have a big role to play. “I don’t think it was my goal, I think it was the team’s goal because it was all a collective effort. It was a great transition moment from us winning it in defence to attacking, so I think it was just a group effort than just my personal goal,” Akinola said.

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