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FIFA U17 World Cup 2017: 'Chak De Chile!' is the cry as La Rojitas look to follow the path of their senior counterparts

Rohit Roy
465   //    08 Oct 2017, 06:59 IST

Chile U17 want to mirror their senior side and play for the badge

Chile have crossed all stops in doing their best to avoid a cultural shock as well as combat the heat and humidity of India, but now it all depends on how La Rojitas will be performing against England in their World Cup opener at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday.

Coach Hernan Caputo, along with his team, arrived before everyone else in Kolkata and he, along with his support staff, have been making sure that their side is fully prepared for the campaign.

"We have been preparing for the tournament for about six months prior," he said. "We came here early and have adapted well to the weather and the conditions here, I dont think the conditions would be much of a problem for us."

Meanwhile, captain and forward, Antonio Diaz, was full of praise for the team. He said: "We have a very cohesive team and our objectives are clear to us. We are in a tough group and we go match by match. We are very proud to be able to represent our country and know the importance of this tournament."

Diaz and his teammates draw inspiration from their senior counterparts and the forward spoke very fondly of his idols.

"The senior side is a big inspiration for us, players like Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez are our leaders and inspirations and we look forward to mirror the senior team and their success.

"We want to reach there (the level of the seniors)," he concluded.

Chile, who qualified for the tournament for the first time in 20 years after finishing as runner's up in the South American U17 Championship held earlier this year, are wary of the threat England possess in the form of Jadon Sancho, Angel Gomes and Rhian Brewster.

"England are a great team and have great players, but we are more focused on the whole team collectively rather than individual players," confessed Caputo. "We have worked hard on our defense and attack in strengthening our squad."


On being asked about the strength of the team, he added: "Chile as a collective team gives a lot of stress on the effort we will be putting on the pitch.

"Although we have worked on the specifics and tactics, we put more importance on playing for the crests on our shirts. Our main objective is to play well enough to honour the badge and our nation"

The hype around the U17 side is a little less back home in Chile given how the senior side have been jostling to earn a place in the World Cup in Russia next year. However, the players and staff have been very overwhelmed by the incredible reception and the hospitality they have received in India and compared the excitement levels to being similar to the senior World Cup.

Chile are optimistic of having a positive tournament and are focused on taking it one match at a time. Their opener against England on Sunday could probably be their biggest test and while watching Chak De India might just have been to know the Indian culture, coach Caputo would be more than happy if his side could replicate the same heroics as SRK's India did onscreen.