USA coach pays heartwarming tribute to Indian team ahead of FIFA U17 World Cup opening clash
What's the story?
The United States of America's U-17 team will face their first test of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 on Friday, and their head coach Jack Hackworth is full of respect for opening day opponents India instead of taking the tournament newcomers lightly.
Hackworth paid tribute to the Indian U-17 team who will be the first-ever representatives from the nation at a FIFA event, calling the Blue Colts the 'most hardworking team' he has faced in the last two years, according to an Indian Express report.
In case you didn't know...
India is hosting the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup and will see its national football team participate at a global footballing event for the first time in history. India take on the USA on 6th October in what will be a historic day in Indian football.
The heart of the matter
Hackworth's USA team had faced this Indian team only once before they headed to the subcontinent for World Cup duties, and that was at the AIFF Youth Cup in Goa in 2016. On that occasion, the Young Stars and Stripes got the better of their Indian counterparts by a considerable margin - a 4-0 scoreline.
However, that scoreline wasn't an appropriate reflection of what really transpired on the pitch as what Hackworth saw was a team more hardworking than any he had faced in the year preceding the clash and the one following it.
“I thought they [India] are the hardest working team we’ve faced in the whole two years. So I think they have developed and gotten better. At the same time, I think we have too,” he was quoted as saying.
The India-USA clash on the 6th kicks off at 8 pm at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and although it is not the first match of the FIFA U17 World Cup, it is the proverbial curtain raiser as far as the tournament is concerned. Also starting their campaigns on the opening day are Ghana, Colombia, New Zealand, Turkey, Paraguay and Mali.
While the quality of the Indian team is yet unknown on the global scale, Hackworth's assessment of his team's opponents suggests the other teams have done adequate homework ahead of the big event. India's being labelled as the most hardworking team is an achievement in itself for the Blue Colts; now the onus is on them to show how far that hardworking attitude takes them on the global stage.