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I want to see how prepared India are for the World Cup by facing Chile, Colombia and Mexico- Luis Norton de Matos

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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The tactician also said he was enjoying his job and wished to continue beyond his made after the global the tournament if possible...

With the FIFA U-17 World Cup now less than 90 days away, the anticipation for this gigantic tournament is off the roof. The young Indian team has the hopes of an entire nation on their shoulders and after being seeded in a rather competitive group, these youngsters have the chance to show their potential in front of their home crowd.  The coach of the Indian U-17 National Football Team Luis Norton de Matos held a press conference earlier today in the capital, where he spoke about the upcoming tournament and the team’s mentality before the leaving for preparaatory tours to South America and Australia.

The gaffer was asked about how prepared his team is ahead of the lengthy travel where they’ll face opponents like Chile and Colombia and he replied, “We’re prepared for that. The most difficult game in our travels in Europe was Serbia and Serbia’s a team who are impressive physically. Those were especially difficult and it was an important game for us as it was the only game they failed to score. Serbia scored many goals against Germany and it was especially good as the players came together and played as one.”

Matos was later quizzed on what type of opponents he wanted to choose for the friendly matches before the World Cup and whether it was the physical aspect or the technical one he wanted to focus on to which he answered, “Now we are going to get some experience before the tournament through the tours to Mexico which can give us an idea of what we are going to find in the World Cup. We will face some difficult matches against the likes of Chile, Colombia and Mexico and these three games against these teams with different styles will show us what we can expect in the World Cup. For me, I want to see how prepared we are for the World Cup by facing the most difficult teams.”

The coach was later asked about how the cancellation of the US tour posed as an obstacle for their preparation to which he replied, “I think it’s God that didn’t want us to go to the US tour. For us, it’s not a problem to play the United States. We got the chance to prepare here in the ground where our games will take place and we’re going to Mexico where we’ll get some very good training. So there are no problems.”

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He was also asked what would be his approach leading to the World Cup in less than three months and he answered: “The three months for us is to confine everything we worked in the training. We are facing some superior level of teams and Mexico is the best among the teams we’re going to play. Now we can’t have a lot of different ideas because it’s very difficult and we have 3-4 main ideas on which we have to work on every day very hard. We have a reputation to live up to and when we recover the ball, we have to create chances to score as well.”

Fixtures in Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup

Matos was also asked about how the weather conditions in India can cause problems for the other teams and whether it’ll be of an advantage for the Indian team to which he replied: “The weather condition right now is a mixture of rain and very hot at times. Now Mexico and Colombia, these two have temperatures very high and playing condition is very difficult. The US team might have some difficulties in this weather with Ghana, but they have prepared very well and when you see Germany doing well in the World Cup in Brazil where the conditions were terrible and that’s because they prepared very well.”



Also read HERE! Mark your dates for the FIFA U-17 World Cup!

The gaffer was later asked about how close he is to figuring out his strongest XI for the World Cup and how much competition there is in the squad to which he replied: “What is really positive Is perhaps when I came, there was always the same players who were playing and there was a little lack of communication between the team. But they understood that wasn’t possible to play well and for me it’s important that every player would be part of the process. The way of training and the way of playing friendlies, I want every player to know his role and what he must do in the game. I keep changing a lot because we have many versatile players who can play different roles and I want everyone to have the passion for recovering the ball. The Star of this team is the team, not the player. I keep rotating players to keep them fresh and have the best available team at all times.”

He was also asked about the effect his predecessor Nicolai Adam has had on the team’s progress and whether he’s interacted with them since taking over to which he replied, “Of course, all the coaches have positive things and differences, but I don’t know a coach in the world who doesn’t want to win. For sure, Nicolai had his ideas and his process was different and of course we have some of his actions and players. But we changed a little bit because there are new players in the team. If you compare with Nicolai’s last game, we have 6-7 players who are different. I did watch the team play before taking over, but the approach right now is different. The most important thing is that right now we’re a collective unit while before it was more of an individual game.”

The tactician was also asked about how his support staff has enabled him to get the best out of the boys and said,: “In football today we need to train well in the field and we need the support of staff. As I have mentioned earlier, the AIFF has provided people to help us. Some are not full-time, but some are. For example, we have exclusive analysts to give us information about the teams (opponents). In Portugal, we had two people in an assistant goalkeeping coach and assistant coach who worked very well with the Indian staff. It isn’t possible to work with the national team in another country without people from that country. For me, it’s important to share knowledge and attain it from other people.”

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Finally, Matos was asked about his favored tactical formation for the tournament to which he replied, “I don’t like to talk about tactics because all the teams and players are similar. When we see a team defend, all the players are defending behind the ball. You can play 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 but everyone defends at the same time. The most important is the animation of your players. We want to play with three forwards. But they have to track back when we lose the ball. It’s important in the game how we defend and how we attack. The most important is how one can recover the ball from the place you lose it.”

Published: Thu Jul 20, 2017 06:20 PM IST

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