Hosts India set to face USA

"We have worked at reducing the space to counter the attacking threat of teams like USA, Ghana and Colombia", Norton said.

Having emerged fourth on two occassions in 2003 and 2009 at the U-17 level, the Colombians will be ready to start on a good note to be able to stand a chance of winning their first title at the tournament. Former cricketer Virender Sehwag, who is active on social media, took to Twitter and wrote, "Best wishes to @IndianFootball for organising & participating in #FIFAU17WC for the first time".

Rather than expecting too much from home-grown players, AIFF would do well if they concentrate on showcasing their organisational acumen.

"Players gradually adjust to my ideas, got set into the style". I know of the possibility of a small weakness they have but always they are stronger. Off the field, how good a host we are and how we have responded to such a big tournament.

Indian football enthusiasts are eagerly waiting for the first ever FIFA World Cup (U-17) to be hosted by the country which also marks Indian football team's first participation in a FIFA tournament. "Matos" words should serve as the ideal inspiration for the young Indians as there would be no mental pressure like it happens when administrators, and even media, talk of the team making it to the knockout stage.

He stated that U.S. are far superior to India in nearly every department but there is a slim chance for them to expose the opposition's weakness which they would look to exploit. So they are coming here with competitive experience of 10-11 years behind them. It is a big moment for me and my family to be a associated with the Federation Internationale de Football Association U-17 World Cup. The Indians must be proud of the quality of this team in India.

For Indian football though, the most important faces in the crowd will be those of FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura and AFC president Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa. India are 107 at the moment and the ranking will not come into play in this twenty-three day event, as the country will be out to prove that they are not just serious about how football is played but how the message of football is spread around.

"It is such an inspiration for all of us to have him at the training session". We hope we can play with 12 players tomorrow. From the time I took over the team in March and now, the tactical and physical organization is completely different. The Indian U-17 team led by Amarjit Singh Kiyam has been given direct entry to the tournament given the country's host status. The top four teams from the CAF region which qualified for the World Cup in India are Mali, Ghana, Guinea and Niger. Indians were sent on exposure trips to Spain and Germany, which certainly must have bolstered the morale of the players. Brazil is one of the big favourites. I am very excited. "So, I tried to play as many matches as possible".

For stalwarts of yesteryear, who toiled to make an impact at the Asian level, the sight of India playing against some of the best in a World Cup should be thrilling.

"We have our coach to decide the strategy".

  • Julie Sanders