FIFA U-17 World Cup: Hope to create history with crowd support as 12th player, says India coach
It`s a huge gap that Indian football is trying to bridge, but De Matos seems to have done his homework to exploit the slightest of weaknesses in their first high-profile opponents - the USA.
New Delhi: Football world has descended over India and will have its eyes fixated on spotting stars of next generation when the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks off here on Friday and the hosts cross a landmark moment entering their first ever FIFA world cup.
The giants of the game are targeting the trophy, but India, also known as the Blue Cubs, are focused on just two things at the moment: (1) how to exploit the little weakness they see in their first opponents the USA and (2) backing of a 12th player, the crowd.
The Indian colts step on the green at the Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium on Friday against the Americans, before their two other Group A fixtures against Colombia and Ghana at the same venue.
A little nervousness is expected, and those butterflies in the stomach can give you a head-start. That's exactly what coach Luis Norton de Matos hoped, with boisterous support from the fans.
"We will strive to create history for Indian football," De Matos said. "We hope to play with 12 players. The fans' support (12th player) is very important from the first minute to last minute."
The Portuguese added that his players are well aware of the enormity of the task at hand.
"USA, Ghana and also Colombia are three teams of big, big level. As a coach, I have prepared very well for this and the players know very well what to expect tomorrow when the game starts," the coach said.
It's a huge gap that Indian football is trying to bridge, but De Matos seems to have done his homework to exploit the slightest of weaknesses in their first high-profile opponents - the USA.
"We know all the strong points of United States and possibly a small weakness they can have, but obviously (they are) stronger than us. We are going to fight for this little possibility, we are going to fight very hard, to make something different."
The JLN Stadium has a capacity of approximately 60,000 and should the arena fill up anywhere close to that figure, it will be the perfect beginning for India to step onto something even bigger.