The Stars are currently on top of Group A after two matches.

Group A leaders United States of America (USA) were held to a 1-1 draw by second-placed Brazil in their second game of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Natalia Astrain’s side came into the game as favourites, but Brazil’s never-say-die attitude turned the tables.

The USA opened the scoring in the 33rd minute with a Nicollette Kiorpes strike before Brazil restored parity with Carol’s beautiful left-footed strike from outside the box.

The USA still sit at the top position in Group A despite being level on points with Brazil due to a better goal difference.

After the game, USA head coach Natalia Astrain exclusively spoke to Khel Now and shared her thoughts.

Thoughts on Amalia Villarreal’s performance

The Spaniard rested her most prolific goal scorer Amalia Villarreal against India, but started her against Brazil. Asked about her thoughts on the forward’s performance, the head coach said, “Amalia is a special player, right? She is more about tiki-taka, small spaces and we needed this today. She did a lot in the first half, checking in, creating spaces and arriving in the box. The strategy to put her in this game was correct and I’m really happy for her,”

Gisele Thompson’s injury

USA’s star right-back Gisele Thompson was taken off in the second half due to discomfort. Sharing an update about her, Natalia said that it was due to a cramp as there is a lot of humidity.

“It was just a cramp. Generally, there is a lot of humidity and the players sweat a lot which results in such cramps, but we have a good staff who managed it really well.”

Expectations against Morocco

The USA will play its final group-stage clash against Morocco at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa. After a 0-8 win against India and a 1-1 draw against Brazil, Natalia Astrain is expecting nothing less than a win against Morocco come Monday.

“We expect a win. This is our mentality at US Soccer that we want to win and dominate. This is our team belief and we are here to change history and progress in the competition. A win against Morocco is important,” she stated.

Atmosphere in the stadium

More than 6,000 people witnessed the USA’s draw against Brazil. The stadium was jam-packed with people from all age groups supporting the teams in action. Sharing a word on the atmosphere in the stadium, the head coach said that she was thankful to everyone who showed up at the stadium.

“This is unbelievable and I want to thank everyone for coming and supporting us in the game. I could hear Bhuta and it was unbelievable. Being in India and feeling the support of the people here is absolutely a beautiful experience. 

She further went on to say that she was hopeful that this tournament creates an impact on the young girls who want to play football.

“I hope the tournament makes an impact on young girls to continue playing and fighting if they want to play soccer. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl, you can play soccer,” she concluded.

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