Ahead of their opening match against hosts India at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup, USA head coach John Hackworth has talked about Indian forward Aniket Jadhav as the main attacking threat for the home team on Friday.
“For us, we have to look out for their number 9 (Jadhav). He is a centre forward and he is a very good player. I am hoping our defence plays well. Only then can we initiate our attacks,” said Hackworth.
For his part, Indian coach Luis Norton de Matos, more or less confirmed that it would be a game of attack versus defence, stating that they would have to defend well.
“We have to be focused on collective organisation. We have to be strong in the process, which starts with defence. The full team should play defence. We will have tiny windows of opportunity during which we will have to attack.”
De Matos was also questioned about which US players he thought would be the main threats and he pointed out the two forwards most likely to trouble the Indian defence. “Number 9 (Josh Sargent) and (Timothy) Weah are very good players. We must play with unity to stop them. We must work very hard.”
The Portuguese also reiterated that the process of grassroots change wouldn’t happen overnight and although the odds were against India, he had hope that the players would retain their shape. “Most teams at this World Cup have had 10 years of competitive experience, very deep knowledge of playing in matches such as these. While we may require 7 chances to make it count, they may do so with 3.”
Hackworth was also asked about the USA’s 4-0 victory over India at the AIFF Youth Cup last year. The American coach brushed it aside stating that the Indian team was one of the hardest working teams he had ever known, “It’s been a year since that and I’m sure they’ve improved and worked on their skills. It has been one year for us also and we’re also ready.”
It has been a wonderful year for US captain Josh Sargent personally and he reaffirmed that at the presser. The striker, who scored four goals at the Under-20 World Cup and became only the second US player to play in the U17 and U20 WC’s in the same year after Freddy Adu, will be joining Werder Bremen on the 1st of January.
“It’s an honour to be scouted and wanted by all of these clubs. For me, we already played India last year and we didn’t take too long to acclimatise to the conditions. Our residency program for the US Men’s national team takes place in Florida and the temperature’s pretty much the same there, so we’re used to it.”
Indian captain Amarjit Kiyam said that Friday was about their World Cup dreams coming true, “Every player dreams of playing in a World Cup and tomorrow, ours will come true, We will give it a 110%. We have been away from friends and family for almost three years, for this World Cup that is happening in India. I hope there will be a crowd of 60,000 and we are playing for the fans.”