Ever-improving India U-17 women in final faceoff against Sweden

The U-17 Women’s Football Tournament, supported by AFC Assist and conducted by the All India Football Federation, is the first of a series of competitive experiences designed to prepare the girls for the FIFA World Cup Women U-17 2020 in India.

India will face Sweden at the U-17 Women’s Football Tournament in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  Vivek Bendre

One goal credited in the scoresheet after two league matches (against Sweden and Thailand) does not speak much about the India Under-17 girls’ finishing capacity.

Three goals conceded (all scored by Sweden) is no embarrassment either to the collective defensive work done by the home side.

The final face-off against the Swedes at the Mumbai Football Arena on Thursday evening can be viewed as an opportunity for the Shilky Devi-captained squad to show how far they can learn from mistakes. Some of the areas the team would be looking to improve would be the possession of ball approaching the goalmouth and continuation of impressive work in the backline supported by goalkeeper Manju Ganjhu.

The U-17 Women’s Football Tournament, supported by AFC Assist and conducted by the All India Football Federation, is the first of a series of competitive experiences designed to prepare the girls for the FIFA World Cup Women U-17 2020 in India.

Chief coach Thomas Dennerby is fortunate to have the raw material to work with straightaway: intelligent defenders, hard-working midfielders, tearaway wingers and a no-frills goalkeeper. They are all ready and willing to be moulded into a cracking combination by November 2020 when the curtain goes up.

The display over two matches by the Indian probables was a mix of endurance and elegance, speed and skill.

The deciding tie against Sweden will offer the third and final chance for the home team's first-choice probables. Maverick strikers like Lynda Kom, Sumati Kumari, Sunita Munda no longer carry the surprise element. India's lightning counter-attacks from almost the centreline deep into rival territory is a thrilling spectacle.

Final to be streamed live on Facebook 1730 hours.

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