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We will fight like lions, vows India U-17 coach Matos

Gurugram: India Under-17 head coach Luís Norton de Matos on Saturday said he will look to strike a balance between good football and results and promised that his wards will fight like lions at the FIFA U-17 World Cup that gets underway on October 6.

“We are prepared for the tournament. What we want and try is to stay 100 per cent focused, concentrated. We need to be good with our tactical sense of the game. Sometimes the big question is play well and lose or play not so well and win. So we need to get a mix of the two,” Matos said after Hero MotoCorp Chairman, MD and CEO Pawan Munjal wished the squad best of luck at an event in a hotel here.

“We are going to try and put our strong points in the game, especially during the decisive moments like free-kicks, corners, losing balls near our box,” the Portuguese tactician added.

“We want to have success by different process. We have changed some approach of play. It is very important to defend well and especially, not to concede goal early in a match). Defence is the starting point of success. If you don’t concede goals, you never lose. We will try to play in transitions. We need to cover the spaces well.”

India have been drawn in Group A of the FIFA U-17 World Cup along side the United States, Colombia and Ghana.

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The Indian boys face the US on October 6, before locking horns with Colombia and Ghana on October 9 and October 12 respectively at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

“These three sides are very different but very strong, when we compare to our level and experience. We can compare their game to our intensity, focus and organisation. And if we manage to these three things well, we can fight,” Matos said.

India will compete in a FIFA World cup for the first time across any age-group.

Matos said that his wards are always stay positive. Describing his current mood, Mato said: “There are three words in my mind for now. Faith, hope — which is to connect to dream and all the dream is possible, and love — we must love what we are doing. Everybody is very very focused. There are no impossible missions.

“At 1997 U-17 World Cup in Egypt, New Zealand lost 0-13 to Spain. But they have been qualifying for this tournament for the last five or six editions.”

“(For India) This is the time to build the new football. This generation of India is very strong. But if you see the European, African and South African teams, there is a big gap. We can reduce the gap through correct development.

Matos also had a message to Indian fans. “We are going to fight as lions to be heroes for all the people. The big thing I would like to have after the games that Indian people are proud of these boys. That’s what I want.”

Munjal, meanwhile, met with entire Indian squad and Matos and extended his best wishes.

Hero MotoCorp is the ‘National Supporter’ of the marquee event.

Munjal said: “Hero is now the biggest supporter of football in the country — being the main sponsor of both the men’s and women’s national teams across age-groups, and also through the title sponsorship of Hero ISL, Hero i-League and the Hero Super Cup.

“It is indeed heartening to see the Indian U-17 football team completely geared up to take on the world in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup. On behalf of everyone at Hero MotoCorp, I wish the team best of luck.”

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