Preview: England will know all too well that they will have to put their best foot forward and sweep aside the frailties of the last game when they take on a powerful United States side in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.
England won against Japan in a round of 16 game via penalty shootouts after failing to unlock their rivals' rigid defence in ninety minutes.
Without star attacking midfielder Jadon Sancho, who has left the team after the group stages for club commitments with Borussia Dortmund, the Steve Cooper-coached side has looked to be lacking teeth.
The likes of Phil Foden, Rhian Brewster, Angel Gomes, George McEachran and Callum Hudson-Odoi have looked sharp but failed to convert in Kolkata the other day.
In the group stages, England were perfect. Winning three games more or less in convincing fashion, the Young Lions established their title credentials.
The USA, on the other hand, had a more comfortable progression with a thumping 5-0 win against Paraguay thanks to a hat-trick from Timothy Weah and a goal each from their star players Josh Sargeant and Andrew Carleton.
The USA were drawn in a tough group with Colombia, Ghana and hosts India. But they didn't let the magnitude of the competition and reputation of their opponents bog them down.
They are also one of the few teams in the world to have qualified for every single FIFA U-17 World Cup since its inception.
The stars and stripes, however, have never got past the quarter-finals except on one occasion in 1999 where the USA team reached the semi-finals bust lost out to Australia on penalties in the edition where arguably the US's greatest ever player, Landon Donovan was the star of the tournament.
The USA team scored five goals in their group games but definitely took it up a notch in the Round of 16 game against Paraguay by scoring five goals.
They will bank on Josh Sargeant, Timothy Weah, Ayo Akinola and Andrew Carleton to deliver the goods up front.
Sergino Dest, Chris Durkin, James Sands are the defenders US coach John Hackworth will put ahead of goalkeeper Justin Garces, while Chris Goslin and Blaine Ferri are the key defenders for them.
With inputs from IANS.
Published Date: Oct 21, 2017 19:24 PM
| Updated Date: Oct 21, 2017 22:10 PM