India’s campaign in the 2016 U-17 BRICS Cup kicked off with a loss against heavily-fancied Russia with a 1-0 loss. India got off to the worse possible start, as a defensive mixup allowed Russia to score through Daniil Lopatin in the opening minutes. India had a chance to come back to the game after Umiarov Nail was sent off in the second half, but could not capitalize.
While the scoreline was disheartening, there were plenty of positives from the Indian colts, who could even have grabbed a point at the end as they exerted pressure on their opponents.
Here are 5 talking points from the game:
#1 India’s U-16 core gets a reality check, but should still be encouraged
Much of the starting lineup that started the U-16 AFC Championship a month ago started this U-17 game as well, which tells you all about their ability. The side earned plenty of plaudits for their performances against their Asian opponents, but also showed why youth football requires patience, not condemnation.
There wiil be those who would have been despondent with the result and not being able to score against a 10-man Russian side, but it is important to realize that at this age level, results matter for little. Yes, a win would be nice, but the exposure these 15 year olds are receiving against players who are about 6-12 months ahead of them in their development will be priceless.
4 games in 9 days is probably less than ideal, which should see India coach Nicolai Adam heavily rotate, but the chance to play against the best youth players of Brazil, South Africa, Russia and China will serve as a preview for the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year.