Kolkata, Oct 15 (IANS) FIFA head of coaching and player development Branimir Ujevic on Sunday empathised with the Indian team saying they were so emotional after scoring their only goal of the U-17 World Cup against Colombia that they wanted to break into the stands and celebrate with the fans.
Ujevic added that the Indian colts, who finished last in Group A after losing all three matches against the US, Colombia and Ghana, rode on Jeakson Singh’s header to draw level against the Colombians after they had taken the lead. But moments later, they were trailing again even before the historic moment had sunk in.
Jeakson strode into the history books as the country’s first ever World Cup goalscorer. India lost 1-2.
“The first game (vs USA) was a tactical game and in the second one against Colombia they were amazing. They were tactically and physically prepared and created chances as well. That’s football (the defeat).
“They were so emotional. They forgot how to protect the goal after scoring. They wanted to go to the stands and celebrate with fans. They will take a lot of lessons from this tournament,” Ujevic told reporters here.
“India were a very nice team with two midfield players and also the goalkeeper (Dheeraj Singh) impressing me.
“For me, one interesting thing is that one guy who is 16 years old (Jeakson) put his footprint in the history of Indian football and scored the first goal in a World Cup for India. At just 16, it’s a great achievement,” he added.
Analysing India’s games, he added that while the first game against the USA, which India lost 0-3 was tactical, the Colombia game showed India’s real colours.
On Saturday, five more teams joined England in completing the Round of 16 picture with France, Honduras, Iraq, Japan, and Mexico all securing their spots as the group stage concluded.
“Credit to coaches as well as they were making interesting changes during the tournament. The next stage will be more exciting,” he added.
In his first FIFA tournament as head of technical study group, Ujevic said: “It’s obvious from the group stage that teams had come well prepared. Teams showed different styles of play, depending on their confederation.
“Based on technical aspects, we could say the best 16 teams qualified for knock-out round. It would really be interesting to see how they’re prepared for the knockout stage. It’s a very very interesting line-up in round 16.
“In general, there has been a plenty of enjoyable matches during group stage. It’s really fantastic football atmosphere, outstanding individual players,” he said summing up his experience so far.
He also gave credit to the coaches and refused to elaborate much on the negative sides, saying such things were normal in a developmental tournaments.
“The technical stuff they adapted going ahead was interesting. They were doing some interesting changes during the games. As tournament goes to the final round I hope it will be much more better and excitement.”
“You have always some positive and non-positive impacts in a development tournament. Here you’re talking about 16 year old boys… They were doing some amazing things as well as incredible individual mistakes, it’s all part of the development.
“We should give them an opportunity to grow as footballers. We have to arrange everything for the next tournament and make them ready for future,” he concluded.
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