India football coach Luis Norton de Matos was proud of his side’s display after a 2-1 defeat against Colombia in their second match of the Fifa Under-17 World Cup at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.
“Players were fantastic, I am proud,” de Matos said in the post-match press conference. “We play on the same level as Colombia, six months ago that would have been a dream. They are a strong team from South America. Happy and tired. It was always possible to win the game. Have a feeling that we could have drawn. But all teams found it tough to play against us.”
Speaking about the team’s game play, de Matos spoke about the chances in the first half for Abhijit Sarkar and KP Rahul.
“We had more transition on the offensive. We had a big chance [to win] if we scored a goal with chances in the first half. Most difficult thing in football is the offensive process. We need more time. There were possibilities to score more, and there were some good actions,” de Matos said.
“Sometimes when you lose, you learn the lesson. I feel that maybe we could have won this game but I and the team will sleep well tonight,” the Portuguese added.
De Matos credited bringing in a new goalkeeping coach for Dheeraj Singh’s heroics between the posts.
“We brought in top GK coach who found it possible to come in for one month. Before its a question of position, control space of ball. As a coach, it was not my area. Today in football, everything must be very very professional. We are lucky to have Paolo to help us with this specific training. We make it draw, we lose concentration. One minute [it was] like a dream, [but] we lost our concentration.”
“Big punishment, correct result. Today 1-1 is good result for us. The will to win can have contradictions. They lost concentration after the goal, and they need more competitions,” he added.
Colombian coach Orlando Restrepo congratulated India’s coach and team for a job well done.
“We stuck with plan for 15 minutes, it was really stressful, but we came away with a victory that was intense. We had to make tactical adjustments, they were struggling at beginning,” said Restrepo, surprised by India and their play. “The two centre-backs were properly organised. It was a really balanced, game.”