By Sruti Chakraborty,
AIFF Media Team
BHUBANESWAR: Indian U-17 Women’s National Team head coach Thomas Dennerby wants his girls to be more confident with the ball while building their attacks when they play Brazil in their concluding Group A match of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium on Monday, October 17, 2022. The match will kick off at 8pm IST.
“When we have the ball, we need to feel relaxed and start playing. We need to be confident and play a little bit more. Now, we have nothing to lose. I hope the girls start playing freely,” said Dennerby on the eve of the match.
Hosts India are already out of the World Cup having lost their first two group league encounters against the United State (0-8) and Morocco (0-3). On Monday, they are pitted against mighty Brazil, considered a force to reckon with in women’s football. In the latest FIFA rankings released early this week, Brazil’s senior girls are placed ninth.
Dennerby is very much aware of Brazil’s reputation, but at the same time, he thinks his wards are capable of proving themselves on the pitch. “We have to focus very hard on defending, but we also know football is not only about defending. It would be nice for us to score in the tournament,” he said.
“Hopefully we can have another good performance. Brazil are a good team. And we also know that Brazil are fighting to ensure their place in the knockout stage. So, I think they are going to come out with all guns blazing,” the coach added.
The Indian girls, Dennerby said, are ready to play for their honour against Brazil.
“We will fight and try to score a goal. It would be nice to come out of this tournament with a goal,” he said. “We have worked on the final crucial pass – the actions around the opponents’ box. That is also the hardest part in football--to learn exactly how to handle that kind of situation."
“The girls need to have a better understanding of decision making - we also have to work a little bit with the skills in those crucial moments, because in the end the result of all games are decided in the two boxes,” the Swedish coach said.
India’s Senior National women’s team had played against Brazil in November 2021 and lost 1-6. Coach feels there are similarities in playing style between Brazil’s seniors and juniors.
“The playing style of this team is similar. Of course, they are not that skilful yet, but it is normal when you are 17. I will say it’s even tougher to play against the youth team because, in a senior team, you have the best players from your country. When you play the age group, you have to pick up players from a particular age group only,” he said.
“Back in Brazil, they start playing football from a very early age which is a huge advantage. But hopefully, we can show them tomorrow that we have a good starting eleven also in India,” the coach quipped.
Shilky Devi, who was used as a substitute in the senior team’s match against Brazil, said: “I know how strong Brazil are – their fitness level and the way they attack. I was lucky enough to get the chance to play against them for some time and it was a huge learning experience for me. Their speed, their passing accuracy and the quick decisions they make were things that I observed during that match."
“It will be another huge opportunity for us to score against such strong rivals, but we have to do it tomorrow. It is a matter of our pride and honour now,” the defender said.
Striker Lynda Kom also believes that it will be a good chance for the team to put their best foot forward and play a good brand of football against strong opponents.
“We want to score and put up a strong performance against Brazil. We will not give up and throw in everything we have as it will be our last match in the current World Cup,” said Lynda.
The match will be Live on Sports18.