Bhubaneswar: A crushing 0-8 defeat in the opening match denting their confidence severely, India would look to pick up the pieces and salvage some pride when they play Morocco in their second group match of the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup here on Friday.Also Read – Planning a Vacation? You Might Cut Short Your Stay Due to Airfare Hike – All You Need to Know
The hapless Indians suffered a 0-8 thrashing at the hands of rampaging USA in their opening match on Tuesday, and Thomas Dennerby’s side will look to forget the disappointing result and focus on getting at least a point against Morocco in the Group A battle between the debutants. Also Read – Morocco Makes Major Progress Under King Mohammed VI's 20-Year Rule
It won’t be an easy match for India though, as Morocco had made it to the age-group showpiece after a strong show in the African qualifying tournament where they had beaten Ghana in penalty shootout. Also Read – Lionel Messi Suffers Injury on Return as Argentina Lose 3-1 Against Venezuela
India, on the other hand, were automatic qualifiers as tournament hosts.
The Indians were simply overwhelmed by a technically and physically far superior American side, but they would hope to “play their game” against Morocco.
“We have a good chance against Morocco tomorrow. If we can show the right attitude, we can score and get some points,” Dennerby said on Thursday.
“We need to fight it out, we have no other option left.”
The match against Morocco will be the best chance for India to get points as they will be up against traditional powerhouse and title contenders Brazil in their last group match on October 17.
Before the tournament Dennerby had said that India would be a difficult team to score against, but the defence, of which captain Astam Oraon was a part, had an off day against the Americans letting in goals after goals.
The taller and stronger Americans scored multiple goals from corner kicks and India would look to avoid repeating the same mistake against Morocco, who will not have that much physical advantage.
“We have a team that can definitely handle the speed but football is not all about running or the number of sprints the girls take. It is also about taking the right decisions at the right moment,” Dennerby said.
“That was the biggest problem we faced against the USA in our early game the girls need to put their hundred per cent on the pitch.”
The Atlas Lionesses, who lost 0-1 to Brazil, are an unknown side for India, more so because teams do not play many international matches at this age group beyond continental or global tournaments.
Against Brazil on Tuesday, Morocco were left to defend for most part of the match though they had four shots at the opposition goal. Brazil could have won by a much bigger margin had their forwards not missed easy chances. They had 17 shots at Morocco goal.
India need to their own game on Friday, and Dennerby would be hoping that his players will do that against a less fancied Morocco.
“Morocco are a strong team, who defends well. They are technically good with their passing game, the accuracy is also impressive,” said the Swede.
“We have watched them play against Brazil and scoring against them will be a challenge. But for us, it is either a win or out of tournament. It’s a chance to handle the game in a better way and show India certainly can play a better brand of football,” Dennerby said.
“The girls need to play free football and they should avail every chance that comes their way. If they are afraid to hold on to the ball, then they may lose the game immediately.”
India: Monalisha Devi Moirangthem, Melody Chanu Keisham, Anjali Munda, Astam Oraon, Naketa, Purnima Kumari, Varshika, Shilky Devi Hemam, Babina Devi Lisham, Nitu Linda, Shailja, Shubhangi Singh, Anita Kumari, Lynda Kom Serto, Neha, Rejiya Devi Laishram, Shelia Devi Loktongbam, Kajol Hubert Dsouza, Lavanya Upadhyay, Sudha Ankita Tirkey.
Morocco: Derbali Louisa, Said Hajar, Boussatta Dania, Benassou Nadia, Karami Hiba, Aich Lina, Laksiri Kenza, El Assaoui Wissal, Masnaoui Samya, Cherif Djennah, El Madani Doha, Titah Wissal, Mrabti Dania, Tayebi Kamilia, Elmestour Houda, Maamry Ameerah, Zouhir Yasmine, Basser Ambre, El Hamzaoui Mina, El Ghazouani Fatima, El Hannachi Iman.
This is a PTI story