U-17 World Cup: England coach Cooper lauds India’s performance

Kolkata, Oct 13 (IANS) England coach Steve Cooper on Friday lauded hosts India’s performance in their maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup, stating that the fans can be mighty pleased with the way their team played.

India, playing in a World Cup at any level for the first time, lost all their three matches crashing out of Group A but gave a good account of themselves especially against Colombia.

Luis Norton de Matos’ colts lost 1-2 but levelled in spectacular fashion through Jeakson Singh in the second half and came close to eking out a point in the final stages of the game.

Against the USA, they lost 0-3 but were impressive while a much superior Ghana thrashed them 4-0.

“I did and we made a real point with the players of watching them, certainly the opening game for two reasons. One we respect the home nation. What a wonderful experience the boys had in representing the country in a home tournament like this,” coach Cooper told reporters on the eve of their game against Iraq in Group F.

England have already booked their place in the knockouts riding two wins in two matches.

Cooper said coach Matos created a good identity for the team and the supporters can be very proud with the way the hosts approached all three matches.

“The results haven’t gone India’s way but they must be very proud of the performances. Congratulations to the coach, he has created a real good identity. He was really clear as to how he wants the team to play. I personally think the fans should be very proud of what India has done.”

Cooper said he spent some time with India counterpart Stephen Constantine during their pre-tournament camp in Mumbai and learnt more about India’s football.

“I have spent some time with Stephen Constantine in the build-up in Mumbai. He spoke very well of how they develop footballers here.”

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