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FIFA U-17 World Cup: India colts to face Benfica twice in their European exposure trip

They will play six matches in Portugal before heading to France to face Paris Saint-Germain's Under-17s.

The Indian Under-17 team is on an exposure trip to Europe.

What’s the story?

The Indian Under-17 team will face Benfica twice inside ten days during their ongoing exposure trip to Portugal. The Indian Colts will play six practice matches against the junior sides of five Portuguese clubs, namely Benfica, Belenenses, Vitoria de Setubal. Estoril and Sporting Club Portugal.

The new head coach of the Indian Under-17 team, Luis Norton de Matos, is from Portugal and therefore, it is no surprise that he has taken his players to Portugal for the exposure trip which will go a long way in fine-tuning India’s preparation for this year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

The context

The Indian Colts lost valuable time after the whole Nicolai Adam saga and how the German was let go from his post as the head coach of the Under-17 team. With less than six months now left for Norton de Matos to make an impression on his young group of players, the 63-year-old will hope the European trip will aid his and his team’s progress.

In the likes of Benfica and Sporting Club Portugal, the Indian team will face some of the most promising prospects of Portuguese football, a few of whom can go on to one day become the new Cristiano Ronaldo. In that context, the experience will stand the Indian Under-17 team in good stead for a satisfactory performance in October’s World Cup.

The heart of the matter

The matches in Portugal kick off from tomorrow when the Indian Colts take on Vitoria de Setubal in Troia from 3.30 PM Indian Standard Time. Their next match is against Belenenses on April 25th before taking on Benfica two days later.

After that, the Indian Colts square off to Estoril, Benfica again and Sporting Club Portugal from May 1st to May 9th. They will then practise in Lisbon until the 15th of May before setting off for France wherein they will play Paris Saint-Germain’s Under-17 team.

What’s next?

After their Portugal trip, the Indian Under-17 team will head to France to play PSG’s Under-17s before travelling to Italy, France and Hungary to participate in the Lazio Cup and play a number of friendly matches.

Author’s take

As Norton de Matos pointed, any experience for the World Cup-bound Under-17 team is valuable at this stage. Playing against teams that have access to better training facilities and coaching will only make the Indian Colts a better team than they currently are. 

The Under-17 World Cup kicks off on the 6th of October and as the hosts, India will expect to make a mark on their first-ever appearance at a FIFA tournament.

Also read: US-based NRI Namit Deshpande joins the Indian U17 squad

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