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FIFA

We’ve learnt a lot from our time in India, says Abbas Chamanyan

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Iran crashed out of FIFA U-17 World Cup after losing 3-1 to Spain on Sunday evening in Kochi, but coach Abbas Chamanyan has elected to take only the positives from this tournament.

Iran caught the attention of the footballing world when they defeated Germany 4-0 in a group-stage game. Their win against the European juggernauts was surely not a fluke as they’d been playing quite effective counter-attacking football here.

Speaking of his side’s displays in the country, he said: “I’m happy that we’d played five games in the World Cup here. It’s a good opportunity for the players as it would help them shape their careers as well as build the future of Iran national team. Every team should have learnt a lot of things in India, and we’re no exception.”

They were rendered ineffective by a tactically superior Spain side. The 54-year-old coach had a modest answer when asked how his boys played against Spain. He said, “We’re not good at attack in the first few minutes and we conceded early, unfortunately. The biggest problem was the lack of communication between defence and attack. However, our players gave their best until the end of the game.”


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Although they’ve defeated giants such as Costa Rica, Germany and Mexico to qualify for the quarter-finals, locking horns with a team as established as Spain had apparently taken a toll on their psychological strength. He stated, “Our players are still young. It’s not surprising that our players were influenced by Spain’s reputation. Today we had problems implementing our philosophy. We shouldn’t forget that Spain, a great side, countered our strategy well.”

His Spanish counterpart Santiago Denia, after masterminding a win that saw an impressive Iran side look weak, heaped praise on his players and technical staff before stating how important it was to score the opening goal in under 15 minutes.

“We knew it was important to have a strong start,” stated the Atletico Madrid legend. “We knew playing through the middle was going to be difficult. It was clear to us that attacking Iran through the middle would give them the opportunity to counter-attack, which they’ve perfected. We adapted by having more players on the sides of the field. We knew they’d try to score a goal in the second half and leave spaces behind. We managed to capitalize on their strategy [as we scored two in the second half].”

He, however, understands that Spain are far from a finished product as he admitted that there’s still room for improvement. He said: “The fact that we have six goal-scorers is great, but we still need to be sharper in attack, as we create more chances in comparison. We should have scored more than two goals in the second half, surely. Defensively, we’re still conceding goals.”

Spain now face Africa U-17 Cup of Nations champions Mali on October 25 in Navi Mumbai, and the coach, despite branding them a high-quality team, deadpanned that he needed at least five minutes to celebrate the win before answering to questions on strategies for the next game.

“We work to have the possession always. We want to be vertical. We want to move the ball forward in the field. That has been the idea. That’ll be the idea going forward. Mali, as any African team, are fast. They’ve shown top-level quality in the way they play. Give me five minutes to celebrate,” concluded the Spaniard.

Published: Sun Oct 22, 2017 09:37 PM IST

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