FIFA U17 World Cup: Germany look confident and positive on eve of Costa Rica opener
The most awaited game of Group C will coincidently also be the opening game of the group and is scheduled to take place at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa today at 5 pm. The opener will feature Germany and Costa Rica who seem to be the most exciting prospects of the group. Die Mannschaft will hope to kick-start their hunt for a first-ever FIFA U17 World Cup with a win taking away all three points but, of course, Los Ticos will also look to steal the headlines and do the same.
"The atmosphere in the dressing room is extremely positive. We are also enjoying the place and the hotel we are staying in. This is a special country with a bit of different climate, but we are getting used to it," chuckled Germany's no1 and Werder Bremen 'keeper Luca Plogmann.
Head Coach Christian Wuck was also in a positive mood as he spoke about how this is a big moment not only for his team but also for India as a country, who are hosting their first ever FIFA event. The coach seemed rather calm, the eve of the big game as he constantly stressed on how winning the World Cup for the first time in their history was not an immediate priority but rather progressing past the group stages and into the last 16 was their top target for the moment at least.
Head coach Wuck also strongly believes that having a few players in their current squad who have trained with the senior team as well as players like Germany’s captain and star midfielder Erik Majetschak who have represented their clubs for the UEFA Youth Champions League. Wuck believes that his players have been lucky enough to get a lot of exposure playing against sides from different countries and leagues and this exposure will give them a slight competitive edge.
"There is no pressure to win the World Cup whatsoever even though we haven’t won a single one yet," said Wuck, although he admitted that sometimes being at the top of your game is not enough and you need a bit of luck too. "We were unlucky to lose out to Spain in the semis of the U-17 Euro Championship on penalties. Even though they went on to win the tournament, we did our part and impressed. But sometimes you definitely need a bit of luck," said Wuck who hopes that fate and luck will be on their side for this year’s tournament.
Surprisingly, the German team has had a tougher time dealing with the pitch rather than the weather. Coach Wuck admitted that it was a bit difficult getting used to the hot and extremely humid weather but admitted that it was great idea coming to Goa early, as the four days that they have been here had helped them slowly get used to the weather. "The grass here is a bit different compared to the grass we have on our pitches in Germany and that affects our link-up play and our crosses, but we are dealing with it and it shouldn’t be much of a problem," said captain Majetschak.
Coach Wuch also stressed on how ‘Die Mannschaft’ means ‘The Team’ in German and how that’s exactly the way they aim to play, as a team effort. The Coach recognized that they no doubt have some world class talents in their team like their star talisman and Vice Captain Jan Fiete Arp who made headlines for scoring 7 goals in the U-17 Euros which included 2 hattricks and also made history just a few days before coming to India for being the first player to be born in the year 2000 to make a debut in the Bundesliga. ‘’He is no doubt a very important and very talented player. Fiete (Arp) is important both on the pitch and off the pitch’’ said Wuch with heavy praise for his star striker. One might think with the calm approach that the team has towards going the distance and winning the world cup that Germany may take it a bit easy and give most of their players some game time, however, Coach Wuch was quick to put the notions to bed by saying ‘’We will always field our strongest team for every game’’
Coach Wuch also spoke about how the relationship between a club and the country is very important as the players barely had any time to practice, most directly joining the team quickly after club duty.’’ The players are required for only a few times in a year and it is important that the club and the national team have a good relationship so as to come to an agreement’’. With respect to the same matter Coach Wuch feels that the absence of goalkeeper Christian Fructl in the team did not affect the team morale and that there is no love lost between the two. ‘’It is completely understandable makes perfect sense why Christian decided to opt out, with Manuel (Neuer) having a serious injury that will keep him out for most of the season, it his duty to fulfill his role at the club and he will go on to play a key role. The national team perfectly respects his decision and came to a comfortable agreement with Bayern.’’
With the Senior Team and U-21 team who succeeded at the biggest stages as their role models and building on the fact that they were top scorers in the U-17 Euros, the German National Team are ready for the tournament. ‘’It is very important to work hard but to have fun and enjoy as well, so we will give it our best shot’’ said Erik Majetschak with a big smile.