Football

FIFA U-17 World Cup: England coach Steve Cooper lauds India's performance

[caption id="attachment_56351" align="alignnone" width="580"]DSC00530 England Young Lions Coach Steve Cooper during training at the SAI grounds on Friday. Image Source: Xtra Time[/caption]

Kolkata: India’s performance in the FIFA U17 World Cup was lauded by England Coach Steve Cooper on Friday. According to the British coach, the Indian players can feel proud about their performance in the tournament. The hosts, playing in their maiden FIFA U17 World Cup won the hearts of football fans in the country with their impressive show. Inspite of losing all their three matches, the young turks put up a brilliant performance throughout the tournament. Luis Matos’ side gave a good account of themselves, especially in the game 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.

"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.
The Young Lions Coach feel the Indian supporters can feel a lot proud about the performance of the young players.

"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."

The Young Lions has been thoroughly enjoying their stint here in Kolkata. The players and support staff are mighty impressed with the crowd support so far. On being asked whether the England players will be visiting some iconic places of the city including the Eden Gardens, Cooper said, “We have got some people in our staffs that have worked in cricket with ECB. If the schedule permits and we are here long enough, we would like to go and see...not just cricket ground but some of the other sites that India can provide.”
"I would love to see a game of cricket out here. Wish I had more time and the schedule would permit as I am a big fan of cricket, that's the England team (laughs).”
England currently sit top of group F with six points from two games and a win against Iraq will see the Young Lions finish on pole position. A draw or defeat on the morrow would mean they finish second.

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