Angel Gomes

FIFA U17 World Cup: We are not afraid of Brazil, says England Coach Cooper ahead of the semis

Rhian Brewster with Angel Gomes 241017 rr (5)

Kolkata: England Coach Steve Cooper is looking confident ahead of facing Brazil in the much awaited semi final at the Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow. He emphasizes that there won't be any "fear factor" when they will be confronting the Selecao in their first ever FIFA U17 World Cup semi final tomorrow.

England who have played four of their previous five games at the ground including their knockout game against Japan know that they must stick to their plan to defeat the Selecao.

The coach when asked whether the early kick-off would play a role in the game said that they were used to the conditions that the city has to offer and that he and his side are looking forward to every challenge that they have to face.

"We played our first two games at 5 pm. Chile and Mexico games (group stage). There is a slight difference in the temp and humidity but not a massive one.These tournaments are brilliant for throwing up different experiences and different opportunities for the players to thrive on. Everything that comes our way even a venue change is something we must embrace, there is no disadvantage to either team."

The coach highlighted about how proud he was of his lot to have qualified for the semis and how this experience would condition the players for the future.

"For an English U-17 team to qualify for the first time for the semis it's something that we are really proud of, it means that development in England is on the up. This is another example of the good work the clubs and academies are doing. The players as well deserve the credit but of course, the journey is not finished, we're looking forward to tomorrow's game."

"Also in terms of long-term for players, playing in a World Cup is invaluable so that when they play in a senior world cup which is the plan they'll just be in a better place it won't be a brand new experience for them."

He coach underlined the magnitude of the game but also said how his players are looking forward to the experience.

"Semi-finals against Brazil at a venue like this is amazing. It's the biggest game without a doubt for the players, staff and I. Everything to be excited about, we have to look forward to it and stick to our plan."

"A lot of respect for Brazil and Carlos, a very good man and very good coach. They have very good players and so do we. I hope it's going to be a very good advert for youth development which I think it will be" he said.

The coach also said that his side will be motivated and not pressured by the success the U20 and U19 English teams achieved over the summer going into the game

"Definitely motivation regarding what the English teams did in the summer. It's a World Cup so of course, there is some pressure".

The English coach said his side could take on any team if they stuck to the devised plan.

"We want to play with the ball, we want to play a possession based game, attractive football and work hard when we don't have the ball to get back into the game. We have a plan, so we'll be sticking to that tomorrow."

The Brazilian team enjoyed a majority support in the last game against Germany at Kolkata to which the English coach said he looked forward to as it would help the players in the future.

"It's going to be a brilliant experience for the players to play in a stadium where the opposition enjoys more support. It's something they'll have to get used to. They have to win over the crowd and make them support us." he said.

The coach further highlighted as to how the game could be won or lost in the midfield given the quality of players both sides have to offer.

"The midfield will definitely be a factor. Any top level game, the outcome of a game is affected by the midfield. Let's hope we can use it to our advantage and use it to make a difference in our performance."

The coach was delighted to be back in the city sooner than expected due to the change in venue for the semi-finals.

"We're delighted to be back. Didn't think it'd be this early. As soon as we told the boys yesterday that the decision was made to shift the game, it was a positive response. We had a wonderful time here in the group stage and the knockout game here against Japan. It was sad to leave Kolkata but we're glad to come back here now."


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