Surprised and impressed by India's performance at FIFA U17 World Cup: Mexico coach Arteaga
“Surprised and Impressed by India’s performance in the World Cup” is what Mexican coach Mario Arteaga had to say about the Indian team’s performance during the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017.
The Blue Colts (Indian U17 team) played against Mexico in the Four Nation Tournament in Mexico during the build-up to the FIFA U17 World Cup and got thrashed by the El Tri 5-1, even though captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam managed to get his name on the scoresheet that evening it was a day to forget for the Indian team as they played disjointed and unorganised football, but it is noteworthy that the tournament was the initial stages of Coach Luis Norton De Matos and it was these foreign exposure trips that the Portuguese gaffer used to experiment and get to know is squad even better which in turned formulated a plan for this World Cup and it is this formulated strategy and playing style that has caught the eye of Arteaga.
He went on to mention: “The football they (India) played in Mexico was very different to what I witnessed them play here during the World Cup; it is of much better quality than the Four Nation Tournament in Mexico.” Gaining such accolades from a coach whose side have won two FIFA U17 World Cups is really praiseworthy.
After playing out an exciting 0-0 draw (the first goalless draw of the tournament), the coach admitted that the game against Chile was a tight affair. He mentioned earlier that they needed to play intelligent football from the beginning and not just get better in the second half like they have been doing in both their previous games and said that they sort of did that today and played much better football throughout the 90 minutes.
However, he was surprised to see the way Chile played as they probably played their best brand of football in the whole tournament and their style of play was not something the Mexican team had anticipated and wished La Rojitas the best for the future.
Arteaga did mention that they had two ways to progress into the Round of 16 either by winning the game against Chile or by playing out a draw against them. But they do know now they have to win or else they go back home and will prepare accordingly for their game against Iran, a team which he is hopeful his team can overcome given they have already defeated Iran 3-0 in the build-up to the World Cup.
“Both the games against Iraq and England made us look into the tournament in a different way,” was Arteaga’s answer when asked about which was more painful the Iraq game or the England game. He admitted that during both the games conceding goals in the first half had been the problem and wishes to change that in the coming matches but also mentioned in both the game during the second half, his side were very dangerous in attack and it is evident from the results of both the games where they scored and managed to put pressure on the opponent's goal.
Defender Luis Olivas, who plays for Chivas Guadalajara in Mexico, said even after the three disappointing results the mood in the dressing room is calm and cool and the morale is also quite high. The players know exactly what they have to do in the game against Iran and that is to win. He also stressed that they focus on team work more than anything so they won't be banking in on any single player. He to felt the need to play intelligent football apart from playing just good football.
“The Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Kiranganan felt like home like the Estadio Azteca with the crowds cheering 'Mexico-Mexico' during the match against England” was what Olivas felt about playing in the iconic VYBK stadium in Salt Lake, Kolkata. Even the crowds today during the Mexico Chile game in Guwahati had chants of MEXICO MEXICO and it seems that the El Tri have won over the crowds of Eastern India.
“We don't like to read about a place rather we want to live it and taste it, till now we haven't been able to roam around the cities much but wish to in the future. Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi are two personalities which are admired a lot in Mexico and we wish to know more about them during our stay here in India.” This is what Arteaga had to say about touring the city and what things did he wish to see.
Speaking about the city Guwahati they said that they were very happy to be here and it wasn't a big city like Kolkata, it’s more calm and quiet just the way they like it plus they are very happy with the hospitality, security and warm nature of the people here in Guwahati.
Chile Coach Hernan Caputto said qualifying for the FIFA U17 World Cup after 20 long years (they played the last edition by virtue of being hosts and didn't qualify for the tournament on merit) was a big achievement for his squad and now that his team has got the required experience in this level the players can really go on to have bright futures.
He also mentioned that Chile were lucky to be a part of such big games and good opponents and this tournament has taught the lads a lot of things and these things will help them grow into better players.
"This whole experience of India its culture and people, has been superb and we thank India for being such good hosts," said Caputto on his and the teams experience in India during the World Cup.