FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: How India could still make Round of 16 despite defeats against USA, Colombia
Despite losing in their first two matches, India still have a chance to qualify for the Round of 16. Here's a look at what they need to do to make the knockout phase.
India lost by a slender 1-2 margin to Colombia in a Group A fixture of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday.
A brace from Juan Penaloza (49th, 83rd minute) helped the visitors seal their first victory and earn three points.
Jeakson Singh Thounaojam etched his name in India's football history in the 82nd minute when he headed in off a corner to become the first Indian to score at a FIFA World Cup at any age group.
Both India and Colombia were looking to find their first victory in the tournament, after losing to the US and Ghana respectively in their initial fixtures.
India had earlier lost 3-0 to USA in their opening match.
However, despite the two losses, India still have a chance to qualify for the Round of 16. The top two teams of each group and four best third-placed teams advance to the knockout stage.
After Monday's loss, India will have to beat Ghana by a big margin in their last group match and hope that Colombia lose to the US in order to enter the knockout phase.
USA have looked like the strongest team in this group and currently sit on top with six points. Colombia and Ghana are second and third respectively with three, while India are yet to open their account.
If India beat Ghana, they could move into the third position depending on the goal difference. Even if Colombia win against USA, there is still an opportunity for India to make the last-16 as four third-placed teams will also qualify.
The four best teams among those ranked third will be determined by the following criteria:
1. Points obtained in all group matches
2. Goal difference in all group matches
3. Number of goals scored in all group matches
4. Fair play points
5. Drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee
While India's chances may appear slim, their goal against Colombia showed that they can compete with and threaten better teams. If they manage to iron out their defensive flaws, and play as a cohesive unit for 90 minutes, they may just scrape into the next round of their first ever FIFA tournament.
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