FIFA U17 World Cup 2017: "We are more skilled than our rivals," Turkey coach shrugs off size disadvantage
Clubbed alongside, New Zealand, Mali and Paraguay, dark horses of the FIFA U17 World Cup, Turkey may well be among the favourites to qualify from Group B. But that will be easier said than done.
While Turkey is an extremely gifted side with numerous technical players who love to play the passing game, their opponents for Friday's opener, New Zealand are an extremely physical outfit and will adopt completely different tactics compared to the Turks.
Their rugged approach was omnipresent in both their practice games against Brazil and England, both of whom found it much tougher than they would have expected.
But Turkey's coach, Mehmet Hacioglu isn't too worried about the physical threat that looms large. He reckons his players have enough in their arsenal to dominate not only New Zealand but all their opponents in Group B.
"The New Zealand players and other rivals in our group have important physical capabilities. They're much bigger in size than us but we have an advantage against them.
"We are a much more technical than them, we are much more skilled and talented than the other sides. We prepared for this physical challenge during our preparatory camp," he added.
Wherever there are talented and young footballers around, scouts are not far away and Friday will be no different. Having made it to the semi-finals of the recently concluded European Championships, all eyes will be on Turkey at the upcoming World Cup.
Embiya Ayy?ld?z, who plays as a forward for Turkey is well aware of the attention he and his teammates will receive. But he was extremely calm and composed about the same. The 17-year-old has his eyes set on the prize and is only focused on the task at hand.
"We are totally aware that European scouts will watch us like at the European Championships, there were so many scouts from various clubs. But we will play in the tournament as a team, individual performance is not important for us," he said.
The temperature hovered at 34 degrees Celsius in Mumbai on Thursday. Post the monsoon, there seems to be no respite as the humidity continues to rise in the city of seven islands. Turkey coach, Mehmet Hacioglu accepted that the weather will surely impact his players.
"Of course the temperature here will impact us in a negative way, the humidity will be high too. But it's not only for us, it's for all the teams," he signed off.