India U-19s to tour Serbia for two friendlies

The two matches against Serbia U-19s will be played on September 13 and September 17.

Representative Image: India is currently playing a four-nation series in Croatia. Photo: Getty Images

The India U-19 football team is set to play two friendlies with the Serbia U-19s in Serbia, on September 13 and September 17, 2018, the All India Football Federation announced via a communique on Saturday. The Serbian tour will follow participation in the four-nation tourney in Croatia alongside France U-19s, Croatia U-19s and Slovenia U-19s.

The friendlies are part of the preparation for the upcoming I-League season, and the U-19 AFC Championship qualification in 2019.

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“Serbia will be the fifth top-50 team (as per the FIFA rankings) that we will be facing within a month-and-a-half. In a 50-day period, we will be competing six matches under our belt against regular World Cuppers from the two continents of World Football -- South America and Europe,” team director Abhishek Yadav said.

The France test

On Sunday, before the Serbian assignment, the team plays the U-19 Youth Team of France, whose senior team clinched the World Cup title in July, 2018. This is part of the ongoing four-nation series in Croatia.

India U-19 coach Floyd Pinto remarked, “France are the strongest team in the group. They were by far one of the best teams in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India and we are really excited to face them.”’

Looking ahead to the contest, Pinto said, “We will be highly motivated to play them and will give our best in an attempt to register a win. It is going to be very tough but we are hopeful that we can create another upset.”

The Indian team has lost both its matches played in the tourney so far. It went down to Croatia 5-0 in its first match, before falling to Slovenia 1-0.