Kolkata: FIFA head of coaching and player development Branimir Ujevic on Sunday empathised with the Indian team saying they were so emotional after scoring their only goal of the U-17 World Cup against Colombia that they wanted to break into the stands and celebrate with the fans.
Ujevic added that Luis Matos’ colts, who finished last in Group A after losing all three matches against the US, Colombia and Ghana, rode on Jeakson Singh’s header to draw level against the Colombians after they had taken the lead. But moments later, they were trailing again even before the historic moment had sunk in.
Jeakson strode into the history books as the country’s first ever World Cup goalscorer. India lost 1-2.
“The first game (vs the USA) was a tactical game and in the second one against Colombia, they were amazing. They were tactically and physically prepared and created chances as well. That’s football (the defeat),” Ujevic told reporters here
“They were so emotional. They forgot how to protect the goal after scoring. They wanted to go to the stands and celebrate with fans. They will take a lot of lessons from this tournament,” he added.
“India was a very nice team with two midfield players and also the goalkeeper (Dheeraj Singh) impressing me,”
“For me, one interesting thing is that one guy who is 16 years old (Jeakson) put his footprint in the history of Indian football and scored the first goal in a World Cup for India. At just 16, it’s a great achievement,” he said.
Analysing India’s games, he added that while the first game against the USA, which India lost 0-3 was tactical, the Colombia game showed India’s real colours.
On Saturday, five more teams joined England in completing the Round of 16 picture with France, Honduras, Iraq, Japan, and Mexico all securing their spots as the group stage concluded.
Reflecting on the quality of games that have been played so far, Ujevic said: “This is my first tournament as head of coaching and player development. Teams have come well prepared and are playing in different styles. You have skilful players in wing and attack.
“Credit to coaches as well as they were making interesting changes during the tournament. The next stage will be more exciting,” he added.