FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup: India look to save pride against Morocco

A crushing 8-0 defeat in the opening game took a serious toll on India’s confidence. India would look to pick up the pieces and salvage some pride when they take on Morocco in their second group match of the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup on Friday. The hapless Indians suffered an 8-0 loss to a furious USA in their opening game on Tuesday and Thomas Dennerby’s side will look to forget the disappointing result and focus on clinching at least a point in their Group A clash with Morocco pick debutants.

It will not be an easy game for India, however, as Morocco finished top of the age group after a strong performance in the Africa qualifiers, where they defeated Ghana on penalties.

India, on the other hand, was an automatic qualifier as the tournament host.

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 show the right attitude we can score and get a few points,” Dennerby said on Thursday.

“We have to fight it, we have no other option.” The game against Morocco is India’s best chance of picking up points as they face traditional powerhouse and title contenders Brazil in their final group game on October 17.

Ahead of the tournament, Dennerby had said India would be a difficult team to hit, but the defence, which included captain Astam Oraon, had a bad day against the Americans, who conceded goal after goal.

The bigger and stronger Americans scored several goals from corner kicks and India would look to avoid the same mistake against Morocco who won’t have as much physical advantage. “We have a team that can definitely handle the speed, but football isn’t just about running or the number of sprints the girls do. It’s also about making the right decisions at the right moment,” said Dennerby.

“That was the biggest problem we had in our early game against USA – the girls have to put 100 percent on the pitch.” Atlas Lionesses, who lost 1-0 to Brazil, are an unknown side for India, mainly because teams in this age group do not play many international matches that go beyond continental or global tournaments.

Against Brazil on Tuesday, Morocco had to defend most of the game despite having four shots on goal. Brazil could have won by a much larger margin if the strikers hadn’t missed easy chances. They had 17 shots on goal from Morocco.

India have their own game to play on Friday and Dennerby would be hoping his players can pull it off against a less popular Morocco.

“Morocco are a strong team that defend well. They are technically good with their passing game, and their accuracy is also impressive,” said the Swede.

“We saw them play against Brazil and scoring against them will be a challenge. But for us it’s either a win or a loss in the tournament. It’s a chance to manage the game better and show that India can certainly play better.” brand of football,” said Dennerby.

“The girls have to play free football and should take every chance they get. If they’re afraid to keep the ball, they can lose the game instantly.”


Teams (out): 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 D’souza, 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.

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