With 4 months left for the Under-17 World Cup, India beat Italian youth team
Luis Norton de Matos's side got the better of the Italian youth team 2-0.
The FIFA Under-17 World Cup-bound Indian team produced a shocking result by upsetting an Italian youth team 2–0 at the Stadio Citta di Arezzo. This was the Indian Colts’ eighth game of their ongoing European tour.
Having not won even one game in the entire tour, not many expected the Colts to pull off a major upset. Although some might argue that the Italians fielded an under-strength eleven, that doesn’t undermine what Luis Norton de Matos’s charges have achieved with their win today.
The Colts were on the back of a 1–1 draw with French club Saint Leu on Tuesday and having lost five of their seven previous matches, not a lot would’ve expected them to get the better of Italy, four-time winners of the FIFA World Cup.
However, it was the Indians who dominated proceedings from the off with Komal Thatal, Rahul Praveen and Aniket Jadhav wreaking havoc up front. Chance after chance went begging for the Colts, and it seemed things would turn out to be similar to what has transpired so far for India on their European trip.
Italy were content to sit back and invite India on, and one such invitation was gleefully accepted by the Colts as they scored from a deflection off Abhijit Sarkar’s 31st-minute cross from the right. That goal calmed Indian nerves and the Colts settled well and were the more threatening side thereafter.
Italy struggled to impose themselves throughout the first 45 minutes, and the second 45 also saw India mount attack after attack. Aniket turned out to be the chief chance-spurner in the second period as somehow Italy kept the scoreline at 1–0.
One-on-one misses and open goal misses from India became the theme of the second half as the Colts peppered the Italy goal. Both Aniket and Rahul came close to scoring, but it was the latter who sealed the result with an 80th-minute goal. The Kerala youngster slotted the ball into an empty net after a fine save by Italy’s goalkeeper, and the 2–0 scoreline was the least the dominating Colts deserved for their efforts today.
This 2–0 win marks a historic occasion for Indian football and will be a big confidence booster for the Colts ahead of the World Cup. They will now head to Rome to participate in the Lazio Cup, which starts on the 23rd of May.
Update: It was earlier reported that India had defeated Italy’s U-17 national team. However, subsequent reports emerged that Italy didn’t field its first team for the game, but a team comprised of youth players from Lega Pro and Lega Pro 2 clubs.