FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022: “We are going to fight it out,” says Head Coach Thomas Dennerby


Bhubaneswar: Head Coach of the Indian Under-17 National Team, Thomas Dennerby, is confident that his wards will dish out their best in the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 beginning on October 11, 2022.

“We are completely focussed and hopeful that good performance will lead to points. We want to be in the quarter-finals – we’re going to fight it out, staff and players together. We know we are playing against some of the top teams. But if we really have a good day, and the top teams have some weakness, then there is always a chance for the underdogs to make it a match for themselves.

“If we can score an early goal against one of these teams, then they may get a little nervous or start thinking a little bit too much and get stressed. So, there is always a chance and if we get a chance we will take it,” said Dennerby while interacting with the media.

The Young Tigresses are currently training in Bhubaneswar under the watchful eyes of the Swedish coach and one can almost sense the high morale in the squad with just four days to go for the World Cup to start. The girls are back from their exposure trip to Spain last week and the coach feels the performance level has gone up since what they played during their last exposure trip to Italy.

“The team performance is much stronger than before. Against Sweden, we played a good game but unfortunately lost due to some mistakes we committed. We have to put our best foot forward now.

“The team is ready now. All my players are excited to get on to the pitch and perform. We have been practicing for a long time now. We had almost 250 different training sessions altogether in the past seven months. It is evident that the girls are raring to go,” quipped Dennerby. “Today when we finally entered the World Cup hotel, we felt like an extra push. Now it’s real and we are here finally,” he added.

“In the past few months, we played against the Odisha senior team a couple of times here in Bhubaneswar and had really good results against them. So, if we look at the performance in total in the last two months, I will say that we have taken huge steps since the beginning of this summer. Hopefully we can do the same when it comes to the World Cup and competition games,” the Swedish coach said.

Dennerby further stated that the girls, who come from different backgrounds, are now strong as a single unit and have also been preparing mentally for their games against USA, Morocco and Brazil in the group league. “When you come to a football team, different backgrounds don’t matter at all. Here we all are same, we are here for the same reason. We have a target to achieve and to have that together is wonderful. That’s one of the best things with any team sport. You always share your dreams and goals with your friends.

“Sometimes when we lose, we feel sad, and be happy when we win and we do it as a team all together. And mentally, I think, the girls are quite strong now.  I observed when they played Sweden. Now, we are close to a top team like Sweden which means that we also have the strength to handle the World Cup.

So that also helps you mentally to see that you can perform against good teams on the pitch. It’s also natural to be nervous and we are trying to prepare them mentally the best way we can,” he said.

India have been drawn in Group A of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022 India with the USA, Morocco and Brazil. When asked about assessment of the India’s three opponents in the group stage, the coach said: “The USA have a strong powerful team and play quick football. They play a very high press game, putting opponents under pressure and utilising a lot of mistakes that the rivals commit because of the constant pressure. And we need to handle this. How? Well, that we will not tell you just yet,” he said with a smile.

“Hopefully, we have found a way to handle Brazil. We saw them during our tour of Spain because they were training beside us. We saw them coming out as a very physical team – some huge girls. Morocco also are a good technical team They try to build up from behind with patience but we have an idea how we should handle that,” said the Indian coach.

The Indian Colts face the USA on October 11, before locking horns against Morocco and Brazil on October 14 and October 17, respectively, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The kick-off for all matches is at IST 8 PM.

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