The time draws near as the Young Colts of India are all set to begin a football revolution in India. The young boys need to be at their very best as they play the first group match against the USA. The young Indians play them in Delhi at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium from 8:00 PM. India has been preparing tremendously for the spectacle and have gained a huge fan following from many stars and have got the whole nation up to it’s feet. The Group “A” fixture can very well be the match to kick start the momentum required for the young guns of India. The dark-horses of the tournament have taken on the challenge and believe they are ready to walk on water and perform miracles to help future generations of young Indians to step into a new era of Footballing fandom in this Cricket loving nation.
The United States of America on the other hand are set up to appear for the 15th time in the U-17 World Cup. USA come as strong contenders from the CONCACAF region. The Americans secured an automatic qualification spot along with Honduras, Costa Rica and arch rivals, Mexico. This match is expected to be electric as the atmosphere in the stadium is already reaching fever pitch.Let us pinpoint a few crucial players for each team, and analyse their importance for their sides in this mouth-watering U-17 Group “A” fixture.
India, as a nation is seeing an amazing transformation. Football fans in the country have come out in numbers to support the prodigies of Indian football as the country prepares to shows it is ready to have a slice of the pie. Recent success by both the Indian Senior team and the U-17 team has got people excited once again as Indians are ready and hopeful to witness more miracles take place in their backyard. India, by virtue of being Hosts, qualified directly for the U-17 World Cup. However, this doesn’t mean the young colts have taken things for granted. They have prepared heavily , playing International matches across all possible environments, thereby preparing for different oppositions alike. They have got an array of talented players in their roster who are ready to showcase their magic.
The most talked about player from India is Komal Thatal. Komal is a player who has the pace and ability to go past defenders.Wearing no. 11 on his back, this winger dreams of becoming the “Neymar” of India someday. In 9 International Friendlies for India U-17, he has scored two goals playing a total of 735 minutes. The next player is the link between the defense and midfield ,Wearing No. 6 on his back and the armband is Suresh Singh.
Suresh is a crucial member of the India U-17 side. In 9 international friendlies for India, he has been utilised to the fullest completing 810 minutes in total. He is a typical box to box midfielder, who helps the team in crucial moments, be it attack or defense. Pairing up with the young defensive midfield is his counterpart, Amarjit Singh. Amarjit wears is a No. 8 who has the ability to wreck havoc amongst opposition defenders via his creativity. His positioning is very fruitful, as he is the rare knack of launching long balls while playing counter-attack football. Another player to look out for is winger, Aniket Jadhav. Aniket is a player who has got the burners required to run at defenses at will. He has appeared in 6 international friendlies for India and the coach expects the very best from him in the upcoming tournament.
The United States, have got immense raw talent amongst their ranks. The young prodigies come from the Land of “Soccer” to ply their trade and display their flair and skills. United States have got players who have played for their U-18 and U-20 sides respectively. At such a young age, these players have got the time and platform to amplify their skills, sharpen themselves and secure a good move to any European heavyweight via good displays in this edition
Their front line is spearheaded by Josh Sargent. Coming from the ranks of St. Louis Footballing Club, he is the perfect synonym for untouched raw talent. Despite being only 17, Josh has already featured for the US in u-20 World Cup. He scored 4 goals in five matches for America in the u-20 tournament playing a whopping 423 minutes. His credentials make him a necessity for the US u-17 team. He has played 29 matches for the u-17 team of US, where he has 14 goals to his name. He is a player who can take on defenses without any hassle. Feeding this beast is the midfield link for US u-17, Andrew Carleton. Andrew is a product of Atlanta United, operating in the left wing position. Despite being 1.65m tall, he can create moments of brilliance. He is one of those players who has been serving the US Soccer team even before he turned fifteen. He has played 8 U-15 international matches, scoring 11 goals. He later progressed to U-17 national side, where he has 27 International caps. He was able to continue with his goal scoring ability, popping up with 11 goals for the u-17 national side. He has also featured for the u-18 national side on four occasions, scoring once. It will be interesting to see Josh and Andrew team up against oppositions.
The success of the United States u-17 side is credited to their fierce defending. The CONCACAF side is known for having powerful defenders be it any level. This has led to the upbringing of the same philosophy at the youth stages. They have a defender, who has been consistent for them. Josh Artega is a regular starter for the United States. A product of LA Galaxy, he has played for 535 minutes, in a national jersey. He also has a habit of racking up cards for crunching tackles on the the forwards having being booked twice while on international duty. The US also have a young goalkeeper, who has certainly met the standards and expectations of European scouts. Carlos Dos Santos hails from the ranks of Benfica. Standing tall over 6 feet, he is a player who has the tendency to pull out some acrobatic saves. He has so far played 2 matches for the US U-17 football team conceding only one goal till date and has one clean sheet to his name. He can certainly prove to be a hindrance to many attacking lineups.
India is about to create history. They are on the verge of facing their first competitive challenge in a FIFA event. They will be backed by the crowd in their own backyard. Chances of them winning are very slim in this opening match , but be assured the Young boys will play their hearts out. Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chetri , an inspiration for thousands of Indians to ply this trade will be out there in the stadium backing the boys and that is definitely going to fire up the boys an extra bit. Regardless of the final outcome , The nation is already proud of the cause that these young boys are fighting for. Lets hope, they enjoy themselves and take back with them well earned experience and some beautiful memories .
Feature image via Goal