FIFA U17 World Cup: Man City man Latibeaudiere feels feverish Kolkata crowd helped England down Mexico 3-2
England maintained their winning form and confirmed their passage to the next round, as the Young Lions held onto their lead even after an inspired Mexico tried to mount a comeback with the help of a brace from their star man Diego Lainez and talking to the press after the match, captain Joel Latibeaudiere was quite vocal about the respect he has for the opposition.
"Still in the lead, we stayed calm, composed and stayed behind the ball. Respect to Mexico. They are a great team, we knew they could score and we were ready for it. So are happy that we saw the game out and got the three points," said Latibeaudiere when asked about how they feeling when Mexico scored twice and were coming on as a huge threat.
"We never thought about conceding an equaliser, but like I said Mexico is a great team, we studied them hard and they had chances which we looked into. We now just to go back watch the clips and prepare for the next game" he further added.
The defender, 17, who plays for the Manchester City Academy had missed out on the earlier part of the season and England's European U-17 campaign through injury but has recovered well to come back and play in the FIFA U17 World Cup and even captain the side. "It's always an honour to captain your country especially in a World Cup, I'm just pleased," he said.
The Kolkata crowd, which has been known for its support for the underdogs, took just a matter of moments after Mexico scored to start believing in their comeback and 'Mexico, Mexico' chants soon started to do rounds around the stadium. But, the English captain believes the crowd's change of support was part of a big learning curve for them.
"All the fans were great and on top of the team, we want more people to come in. We like the crowd here. Even when they were chanting for Mexico, it was still good because as young players we need to get used to that for the future and we respect that. The fans want a good game and if they want to egg the opponent on it's fine but their edging the opponent helped us dig deep and we got the three points," said the Man City U18 star who believes playing the World Cup in India will help vastly in his career.
Mexico, who drew their first match against Iraq, needed to get out of the blocks and quickly, believes Latibeaudiere, and while Chile sat back and waited for the counter-attacking opportunities, the CONCACAF champions decided to take the game to them and went all guns blazing, a big difference he feels.
England take on a somewhat rejuvenated Iraq in their final Group F game, who too turned their fortunes around tonight, with a win against Chile. Latibeaudiere and his teammates though will be much relieved after the assurance of their qualification and will be looking to better and further correct the errors in their defence that they had tonight.