FIFA U17 World Cup: A change in formation led to a change in fortunes, says Colombia boss Orlando Restrepo
In a must-win game for the Los Cafeteros, the team from Colombia upped their ante and dismantled the USA side 3-1 at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. Though finishing third in their group, Colombia are still expected to make it to the knockout stages as a result of being one of the best placed third position teams in the competition. This was why the game against the Americans was a do or die match for the South American giants and their coach, Orlando Restrepo lauded his team's strong mentality for the win in his post-match press conference.
Colombia displayed two different sides to their game in two different halves of the game with one being average to the other being exemplary. The first half saw a Colombian side making too many mistakes and not playing to their strengths. But the second half was an altogether different story as the boys from South America came all guns blazing to blow away the Americans with a sensational second-half performance.
Restrepo exclaimed, "I wasn't totally happy with the performance levels shown by us in the first two games. But we worked hard and today, the team played exactly how I envisioned this team to be." The manager also revealed that with Colombia, USA and Ghana all fighting for the top spot in group B, goal difference was on the mind of the coaching staff as soon as his side took the lead.
It was a commendable performance by the Colombians which was marked by a change in the strategy at halftime. Speaking on how he managed to turn it all around, Restrepo revealed, "The first half showed that the Americans had done their homework to play against us. Hence, I changed the formation to 4-2-3-1 at halftime and told the boys to press as efficiently as possible and to close down channels and free spaces. It helped our cause and ultimately, we won the game."
Colombia have now managed to make a comeback from dropping points situation to securing all three in two of their three group games. Restrepo claimed this to the strong team ethos in his side and revealed that a solid sense of focus prevails in this set of players.
The manager also thanked the senior Colombian team for motivating these young boys last night by finishing fourth in the CONMEBOL division and qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Restrepo revealed that he and the boys were up early and glued to their TV sets to watch the likes of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez live in action.