FIFA U17 World Cup: All you need to know about India's opponents - USA
USA has always had a successful run to the U-17 World Cups.
India is set to face their first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup match against the USA, today (6th October) at 8:00 PM, in Delhi at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The fact that India hasn't achieved much on the International stage, means that playing against the USA in the highly celebrated tournament is going to prove to be a big deal.
This tournament will be USA's 16th appearance in the U-17 World Cup, and as it is going to be the maiden appearance for India, the mercury is all set to rise high in the JLN stadium.
How they qualified
USA had an outstanding performance in the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) U-17 Championship in Panama this year. The CONCACAF is used to determine the teams who qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
USA won all the matches in the championship, except the finals, which they lost to Mexico, resulting in their qualification the India U-17 World Cup.
Out of all their U-17 World Cup performances, USA performed their best in 1999 when they finished fourth after a defeat on penalties in the semi-final to Australia.
Their best players
Timothy Weah is one name that we will probably hear a lot during the current tournament in India. He plays as a centre-forward with the popular French Ligue 1 club, Paris Saint-Germain. His father George Weah is a renowned player who was the best soccer player in the world in 1995, winning the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year while with AC Milan. Timothy scored twice during the CONCACAF championship in 2017 and is expected to put in numbers when going against India.
The other name to look out for is Josh Sargent. He plays as a forward for the US team, and in May 2017, at the age of 17 years, he became the youngest player to score in a U-20 World Cup. In the CONCACAF, Sargent was the highest scorer with 5 goals to his name. Indian defenders will have to keep up their pace when going against Sargent.
Strengths and weaknesses
USA's typical style of play includes counter-attacking, as they are very quick in the transition from defending to bombing the wings and attacking mid-fields. They play with a traditional formation of 4-4-2 and are strong with it.
Their coach, John Hackworth is a former Major League Soccer coach, and it is not Hackworth's first time as the head coach of the U-17 USA team, as he has had quite a lot of experience in coaching the young teams previously also. Hackworth prefers his central midfielders to sit a bit deeper in the midfield and dictate the game.
The team often tries to get the ball wide out, towards men who are expected to whip it across into the box. The main target for these crosses is mainly the talented forward Josh Sargent. Sargent is the focal point for the team's attacking moves, and considering his previous records, he could prove to be dangerous for the young cubs.