In a historic first for Indian football, the Indian U-19 National Team will face the U-19 Youth Team of current FIFA World Cup champions France on September 9 in the Four-Nation Tournament in Croatia and look to create an upset.
This is the first-time ever that any Indian National Team across any age-group is playing a Friendly match against any team of the nation who are current World Champions.
A day prior, India U-19 Head Coach Floyd Pinto found it hard to hide his excitement. “France are the strongest team in the group,” Floyd stated. “They were by far one of the best teams in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India and we are really excited to face them.”
“In all aspects France are the toughest team to play against in any division, but so were Argentina and we defeated them 2-1 in the COTIF Cup in Spain,” Floyd recollected. “The French U-19 Team has 8 players from the side that participated in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and are presently gearing up for the UEFA Euro 2019 U-19 Qualifiers in November.”
Floyd also stressed that his wards are highly motivated. “We will be highly motivated to play them and will give our best in an attempt to register a win. It is going to be very tough but we are hopeful that we can create another upset.”
The Indian U-19s lost by 1-0 against Slovenia days ago in the match that the colts dominated in terms of chances created and possession. According to Floyd, the match adds as an added motivation. “That was a game we did not deserve to lose. The boys were focused and organized and created multiple chances.”
But a goal in the added time of second half helped Slovenia seal the tie.
“A late goal was cruel for us but the efforts the boys put in showed that we belonged on the same pitch as some of the best youth teams in the world. Against France we will be spurred and look to finish the tournament on a high note.”
The colts had gone down 0-5 to Croatia in their first match of the tournament.