The USA coach also praised the composure of the Indian team against his side…
The Indian Colts started their U-17 World Cup campaign with a heartbreak last night as they were defeated by their American counterparts 3-0 in New Delhi. After the game, the USA coach John Hackworth appeared in a press conference to brief the reporters about the match and his experience.
In the first of many questions, the Americans’ gaffer was asked about his ratings of the Indian team’s performance, a delicate question which he handed rather perfectly. “Before I give them a rating, I thought they played really well and I’d give them all the credit,” he said. “Extremely organized, and difficult to break down,” Hackworth added.
He also mentioned that the atmosphere at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was one of the best he had ever experienced. “This is one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen in a FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Indians and FIFA must be proud for everything that tonight was,” the 47-year-old told reporters.
The former Carolina Dynamo player was then asked if the hosts had broken his lobs, another question which he handed well in front of the reporters.
“The atmosphere was amazing and they presented a tough game to us. With the PM coming out and shaking their hands, it was hard to break them,” he said before adding, “I give them credit for their organization and they remained composed throughout the game.”
The gameplay of the USA U-17 team indicated a certain hurry among the players and the coaches. Hackworth was faced with a question which asked him if he had planned to wrap up the game in the first 20 minutes.
“No. Not at all. Credit to India for pushing us behind them. Top performance,” the USA U-17 coach responded. However, Hackworth also warned that his team’s performance was not ideal and there is room for brighter display in the coming matches, “We can play much better, and our execution was not as great as we hoped.”
Despite all his kind words towards the hosts, Hackworth denied that India grew more into the game. “Our fitness is top notch. We’re little complacent at times with our passes at times, and we can play a lot better. Credit to India for giving us a hard time.”
“The goalkeeper (Dheeraj Singh) made several saves in the opening 20 minutes. He was exceptional on the night. If he wouldn’t have made those saves, the game would have opened up. One save was off Josh Sargent and he doesn’t miss many. In the second half, we made some tactical adjustment which allowed us more space to play. Durkin finished from a corner-kick and I must say that he doesn’t usually finish as well as he did today,” said coach Hackworth.
“Both their centre-backs. None of the balls were being put into the box,” he pointed out. “The goalkeeper was exceptional throughout. Blocking the game was great,” he finished.