Blog By: Riya Rathore
India’s FIFA U-17 World Cup coach Luis Norton de Matos is targetting a quarterfinal finish in the upcoming FIFA World Cup, his optimism emanating from the team spirit among the teens besides improvement in technique and tactic. De Matos was appointed head coach in March this year and in a short span of time, he has tried to build a team ready to fight the best in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.“When we talk about targets we usually associate victories, a finish in the quarterfinal. That is a legitimate dream. We will do everything to fight the favourites and the stronger teams,” De Matos told PTI in an interview.Talking about the larger scheme of things, he added, “The ultimate objective is to show the world our progress and growth that young Indian football players can practice fair and great football and that there is hope for an even better future.” After Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata was announced as the venue for the final of FIFA U-17 Football World Cup earlier on Monday, the schedule of the 22-day long tournament was revealed. The tournament will kick off on October 6 and will witness four matches, two each from Groups A and B taking place on the day. While the fate of the draws have not been unveiled, the 24 nations participating will be categorised into six groups of four teams A former manager with the Benfica reserve side, the Portuguese had replaced Nicolai Adam, who was forced to resign in controversial circumstances after a revolt from the players.The team had an exposure trip to Europe as part of preparations for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will be held across six venues from October 6 to 28.“The team has made progress during these three months of work. They have a defined game idea which is yet to be perfected. But through the ongoing training exercises, game simulation, and our playing model, we are working on that.“But there is something that no manager in the world can do in eight months of preparation, like the experience of 10 years of competition as the majority of World Cup teams have. Playing friendly games is not the same as official games. He called the Europe outing a “decisive” one, and added they would look to reduce the gap further.
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