New Zealand ready for a good scrap against Turkey
By Nikhil Bapat
Navi Mumbai, Oct 5 (PTI) Having given a tough fight to Brazil and England in the warm-up games, a confident New Zealand side will be squaring off with much-fancied Euro U-17 semi-finalists Turkey in the opening group league game of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, here tomorrow.
New Zealand lost 1-2 to Brazil and were impressive in their 2-3 defeat against England but the results have made their coach Daniel Hay believe that they are ready to give the bigger teams a fight.
"The practice games were huge for us. We found out a lot about ourselves, strengths and weaknesses in terms of our game plan. When you play against the likes of Brazil and England, there is no way to hide," Hay told reporters here at the pre- match media conference.
"They are two very good sides. It is the first time our players played against world class players and team. It was a massive learning curve for us," he said.
While the team has conceded five goals in warm-up games, the positive aspect was scoring thrice against two quaklity sides.
"We are used to playing with our backs to the wall. But here we are showing signs of attack which is a positive sign," he said.
About facing Turkey, Hay said, they are not in awe of their opposition.
"For us, it was really important that we played against good technical players and we did that against Brazil and England in the build-up. We are not going out there with any fear and are confident that the players are going to do the job," he added.
Meanwhile, Turkey coach Mehmet Hacioglu said that the team has a dedicated game plan for tomorrow's game where they will blend caution with aggression.
"From the beginning, we have a dedicated gameplan. We will deploy both offensive and defensive tactics. We planned according to the climate. We were aware of the difficulties and structure to our training plan. Humidity won't only affect us only, but the other teams as well," the coach said.
He said the players from other three teams in the Group – Mali, Paraguay and New Zealand - were physically stronger, but claimed his team had more skilled and talented players.
"Not only New Zealand, but also all other teams are physically well built and are much bigger in size, but we have an advantage against them. We have a much more skill and takent. During the preparation camp, we trained closest to India (in Qatar). Youth leagues in our country started much earlier this year as compared to other years. I believe that this physical difference will not be much of a difference," Haciouglu said, pointing why they would start favourites