Colombia coach Orlando Restrepo said changing his side’s formation helped them defeat a hapless United States of America 3-1 in their final Group A game of the Fifa U-17 World Cup in Mumbai on Thursday.
With the thumping win, Colombia sealed the second spot on goal difference and entered the Round of 16 from Group A. Ghana topped the group, with USA being pushed to the third position.
“I knew the goal difference, so the main indication to the players was to keep on doing what they were and keeping the spaces tight. I knew the outcome of the goal count,” Restrepo told reporters at the post match media briefing.
“During the half time, I changed the formation to 4-3-2-1 and that helped the team. I did that constantly during the second half, rotating and changing positions and that is why we came on the top,” the Colombia coach explained.
The senior Colombia team has qualified for the Fifa World 2018 to be held in Russia and the U-17 coach said that his boys did take inspiration from that.
“We woke up early and watched the game, and that was the great motivation for the kids and they had to understand that we were also in a World Cup representing the country and be victorious,” he added.
According to the coach, he has been working with the players to put up a show, like they did last night.
“I have been working on the players [for] the way they came out and played today (last night). That is what I was expecting in the first matches and finally [the boys] showed, due to the hard work and the dedication I have been putting in,” an elated Restrepo said.
He also said he always asks his boys to “keep focus” irrespective of the match situation.
Meanwhile, USA coach John Hackworth blamed the passive play by his team in the first 10 minutes of the second half for the loss.
“I don’t know right now why we came in the second half and played passively in the first ten minutes and I think that really allowed Colombia to get into the game. It was exact opposite from the message given to them in the locker room,” Hackworth rued.
“I will give tremendous amount of credit to Colombia because they came out in the second half and played very well and pressed hard. We did not handle that particularly well,” he said.