FIFA U-17 World Cup: Germany Aim to Up the Ante Against Colombia
The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup has reached its knockout stage and from this point onwards the teams will be required to pull up their socks. 16 teams have made it through the first round and the Round of 16 — like the opening game — will begin at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital. Colombia, who played the first match of the World Cup against Ghana, will take on Germany.
Noah Awuku of Germany celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second , the winning goal during the Group C match against Costa Rica. (Image: FIFA)
New Delhi: The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup has reached its knockout stage and from this point onwards the teams will be required to pull up their socks. 16 teams have made it through the first round and the Round of 16 — like the opening game — will begin at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the Capital.
The similarity with the first day of the competition does not end there as Colombia, who played the first match of the World Cup against Ghana, will take on Germany.
Colombia have not had the strongest campaign so far, and must look to raise their levels against Germany. A narrow win against hosts India was followed up by a confident showing against USA which helped the South Americans progress this far, and one expects a certain Juan Penaloza to carry the burden of attack on his quick feet.
“We have done our best to be competitive in all our games and even though against the USA we had to shift from our preferred tactics, we have learnt a lot,” said the coach Orlando Restrepo.
The strength and pace of the players are factors that have helped Restrepo’s team so far, and even though they were far from convincing in their initial outings, Navi Mumbai and the USA brought out their true colours.
“We learnt a few important lessons when we played USA. We had to use a different strategy and we will treat the situation on merit. Our preferred way of playing will be by controlling possession,” emphasised the coach.
Their opponents on the day, Germany, have not had a group stage to remember. Die Mannschaft’s youngest World Cuppers were given a reality check when they were handed a resounding 4-0 defeat by Iran after they began proceedings with a win.
Led by Hamburger’s Jann-Fiete Arp, the Germans bounced back against a stubborn but organised Guinea, and are expected to get better like most of their predecessors and seniors.
“Colombia qualified for the Round of 16 after a tough group stage. They have a strong and fast team and we expect to have a good game on Monday,” said Christian Wueck at the pre match press conference.
The Germans played their matches in Goa and Kochi in what were rather hot and humid conditions, unlike what they have come across in the northern most venue of the 17th edition of the U-17 World Cup, a factor Wueck agreed played a decisive role in their tactical approach.
“The weather in New Delhi is different and better in comparison to the two previous venues Goa and Kochi. In all our group stage games, one of the most important part of our regime was recovery.”
“The weather here is very different from that in Europe and it has been quite difficult at times for the players to deal with,” he added.
The world beating senior German team have been a big source of inspiration for Fiete Arp and his band of boys who made yoga a part of their training regime as soon as they landed on Indian shores.
The expectations though are far from similar as compared to the senior team. “The players have to deal with less pressure than the seniors, but our aim is always to win the competition. Being part of such a tournament is a massive thing for the boys,” pointed out Wueck.
Neither the Germans nor the Colombians have really lit the stage on fire, and as the World Cup bids farewell to India’s national capital during the week of Diwali one hopes the first knockout game of the tournament will be nothing short of a cracker.
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