Riding on impressive performance from captain Josh Sargent and other forwards, USA opened their FIFA u-17 World Cup, 2017 with a thumping victory over hosts India. India battled with everything they had got as they failed to stop the opponents from netting in. Komal Thatal and Aniket Jadhav will be the two biggest takeaways for India from this opening encounter. India put up a great fight but US were far better then their inexperienced opponents as they capitalized on India’s heavy defensive lapses to grab three points from the clash. 

It was a historic feat to achieve for these young boys who played their hearts out at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi to get their fans enjoy some good football but goals from US captain Sargent in the 3oth minute with a cheeky penalty awarded for a rough tackle on him by Indian defender Jitendra Singh followed by two onslaughts by Durkin and Carleton in the 51st and 84th minute respectively ousted India from the battle.

Sargent led his side strongly by dominating the Indian backline heavily, his world class steering skills were vibrantly on display today when he eased past the Indian defenders minutes into the first half. Carleton played a perfect support to his captain providing him edge over the Indian defenders. 

For India Amarjit Singh Kiyam was a solid presence in the midfield but lack of potential attacking players upfront left the Indian team in dismay as they failed to capitalise on several goal scoring attempts. India will have a lot to improve on after this when they go up against the likes of Ghana and Colombia who possess lethal attackers in the setup. Thatal and Aniket can work on their on field co-ordination in order to run through the opposition defences. India has lot to improve from here. 

Full time: India 0-3 USA (As it happened)

90′ mins: Komal Thatal will be frustrated, every time he beats the Americans and tries to find a player inside the box there is no one to cater him. They kept it tight at the back this time around with Suresh and Thatal building up something but no capitalistaion again as the Indian board remains goalless. 

85′ mins: Goal! Carleton gets the third for his side piling up more miseries on the already struggling Indians. George Acosta builded up the counter for Carleton who made no mistake at the far end. Dheeraj is a disappointed man here as he sees another one go past him. India’s struggle continues on the other end. 

84′ mins: Less than 10 minutes left into the game as Komal Thatal gets the ball near the post but misses it by distance failing to even mange a touch. A delicate cross from Komal finds Anwar Ali in hefty space but the shot is denied by Durkin who comes in the way. 

80′ mins: USA are back at their possession game as they look to keep it easy and go home 2-0. The Americans trying to kill time. Suresh gets the ball somehow and kicks it away towards Rahim Ali who runs for the ball but USA clears of any threat. Durkin is there before the striker could get near the ball. 

75′ mins: Dheeraj comfortably dashes away a shot from Weah, Nongdamba Naorem combines with Thatal to produce some fluency upfront but no Indian players around to help their cause. Carleton runs with the all again gets past the Indian field and fires it towards the goal but far from target. 

70′ mins: 25 minutes into the second half as US leads India 2-0 courtesy to goals from Sargent and Durken.  Rahim replaces Abhijit and Naorem comes in for Khumanthem as India executes a double change before Komal Thatal’s cross lands at Nongdamba’s feet who plays around with the US defence before passing it to Aniket. Impressive skills display from Nongdamba. 

65′ mins: US has been solid with their defending, they manged to keep India off the target and have broken all the potential attack moves with brilliant tackles. Akinola and Carleton combined to build up a move but the ball lobbed over the post. No damage there for India. An hour and 5 minutes up and USA have maintained there dominance over an inexperienced Indian side. 

60′ mins: India is continuously hunting for a breakthrough here with Komal Thatal doing the bit. Aniket Jadhav with a potenty run as he collides with the American defenders and loses the ball, Komal was there in a bit of space he could have come handy if Aniket passed the ball. Crowd is at the best , lifting the morale of their boys. Thatal has been the entertainer for them. 

56′ mins: India is in no mood to give up here despite the two goals trail, Komal does brilliant work as he sneaks the ball away from US defenders but the shot fells short of the net but an impressive attempt by the Indian attacker. Meanwhile, Weah was at it again as he ran past defenders but was eventually cleared off by Indians. 

51′ mins: Goal! Chris Durken, Despite having so many players around the post, India concedes the second as Durken earns his country the lead. Dheeraj is upset with that, he can be seen shouting at the defenders, he knows it shouldn’t have been netted.  Impressive shot by Durken as he manages to clear off the man and find space to put his side in advantage. 

50’mins: Dheeraj makes another good save here as he denies Carleton. India counters but couldn’t do much on that. 

47′ mins: Aniket started off the proceedings for India with quick movement near the opponent post but failed to capitalise. Sargent takes the game for US as he leaps forward looking dangerous but referee raises the flag before any damage could have been done. Indian midfield looks much more evolved now with Amarjit holding possession.  

9:03 PM IST: De Matos must have applauded his boys with some inspiration before they go into the second half. India will have to keep on attacking, they have looked far more comfortable going upfront and wait for the Americans to make a blunder. Aniket and Komal can be the key for India from here. 

Half time: 1-0 to USA, The last 10 minutes brought up some spark for the Indian fans with Komal Thatal and Aniket Jadhav showcasing their brilliance against a stern USA defence. The Americans enjoyed majority of possession with as many as 6 shots on target while India manged only 4 without scoring a goal. The penalty could haunt India in the later stages as the Blue Tigers have brightened up in the later half, making it clear that they are not going to give so easily. A positive end to the first half for India, the colts will get back stronger in the other half. Coach Matos will be optimistic too after watching those last 15 mins from his boys. 

45′ mins: Brilliant build up play by India, with the Indian attackers combining to give the USA defenders qa run for their money. The attempt is denied by USA but Aniket gets back in action from the right this time. Aniket and Komal have been India’s two brightest players on the field today. 

43′ mins: Brilliant run from Stalin but he cannot find Aniket there and Komal too was absent as US clears. Komal is enjoying a bit of the ball going forward and he can be India’s man today. Nice, shot from Aniket there, first one on target but not enough power to go past the US keeper as India hunts for the equaliser. An attempt from almost 25 yard from the Indian striker but lacked the magic. 

39′ mins: Komal Thatal there, he shows some skills before losing the ball to the tall American defender. He is India’s top scorer and is making his presence felt to the Americans. USA however, have kept it clean and tight so far with their defence, allowing India too little to exploit. India looks easy going forward but USA are now defending strongly to keep any danger away. 

35′ mins: India tried some counter movements with Aniket going forward and missing the targert but USA since has won the possesion keeping it tight for the Indians. Lindsley moved towards the right to pick the ball but failed attempt. Inda has started going forward now with the sleeping USA defence back on active mode. 

31′ mins: Sargent keeps pressing hard and earns a penalty as Jitendra pulls off a clumsy tackle on the American captain.  Sargent took the ball and made no mistake slotting it past Dheeraj, who couldn’t have done much about it. USA has got the advantage and they will be happy closing the first half on lead. Sargent once again has made the difference for the Americans. 

31′ mins: GOAL! Sargent puts a penalty past Dheeraj to put USA on top 

25′ mins: Aniket Jadhav takes the ball forward from India but faiols to slot in a cross earning the hosts a cross which again is ineffective as its bashed far away from the post. Rahul has made some good tackles for India but has failed to do much with ball under his feet. india look in bits and scrapes but have so far managed to keep it going in Delhi as the crowd gets louder with every passing minute.  

20′ mins: Amarjit is trying but the Americans are keeping him away from the ball. Sargent and Carleton have been steering the attack for USA here. The duo has done most of the attacking for the visitors. India so far has manged top stop the two from doing any damage as teh score board remains goalless. Weah was close to the nets there as he beat Rahul for the ball but the Indian quickly reacted and sent the ball out of play to hand a corner to the Americans. 

15′ mins: Amarjit and Dheeraj keep the ball with them before passing it back to Dheeraj who clears it up the pitch. Defenders have a lot of work to do here as Americans keep running upfront, Carlton is denied inside the box again.  The crowd is playing a good support for the Indians who are struggling to keep the ball. Some boos for Americans from the loud crowd at the JLN Stadium. 

11′ mins:  So far there hasn’t been any build up by the Blue Tigers as the scoreline remain goalless. The crowds are on their foot with every forward movement from the boys in blue. USA has emerged as far sharper team here as they deny possession to the hosts. Komal Thatal can be seen struggling for ball here. A foul on the USA captain earned the visitors a free kick which went in vain. 

7′ mins: Dheeraj had some early work to do here as he saves a shot from Andrew Carleton. Josh Sagent had anothert shot which was denied successfully by Dheeraj. Indians are continuously battling for the ball as USA feast on possession. USA are looking far beetre and sharper than the hosts at the moment. The heights and physicality can be differentiated from far. 

3′ mins: India and USA are off to a good start here, Aniket Jadhav as expected is leading the Indian attack with captain Amarjit handling the midfield and Dheeraj guiding the goal. Josh Sargent is already taking the Indian defence on with his flamboyant pace upfront. The Americans are dominating Indians here. 

8:00 PM IST: USA’s line-up is here, talented forward Sargent will lead the boys in their firs match of the competition.

7:55 PM IST: PM Modi accompanied by Sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore comes on the pitch to meet and greet the players, will start off with the US line up followed by the Indians. National Anthem being played out, first will be of the visitors followed by the host nation’s anthem. 

7:50 PM IST: Flags are out, both India’s and USA’s flags are carried towards the pitch. In moments from now the nation anthem will be played and the much anticipated game will get underway. The stadium is loud and excited to see their boys get on to the business. The teams are coming on with the 4 match referees leading the line.

7:43 PM IST: Packed stands at the JLN Stadium in New Delhi as football fans from around the country have flooded in numbers to see their young guns write history in country’s first ever World Cup. In a few moments from now for the first time ever Indian national anthem will be played out at a FIFA World Cup competition. Earlier in the day, Ghana beat Colombia in a well fought encounter which saw both the teams miss out on a host of chances. 

7:35 PM IST: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to flag off India’s historic first World Cup event. Indian captain Sunil Chettri has been honoured by the PM for his passionate service to Indian football. Our skipper stands with the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry in the list of top international goal scorers 

7:33 pm IST: India’s starting XI: Dheeraj Morangthem, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Suresh Wangjam, Ninthoinganba, Amarjit Singh(C), Aniket Jadhav, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Rahul Kannoly

21 young Indian lads, who have been handpicked by Coach Louis Norton de Matos will carry the burden on their shoulder to run India’s first ever team into a FIFA World Cup event. Billion eyes will be on them when they take field. USA are a potent attacking outfit with a pool of talented forwards at their disposal, Josh Sargent, Ayo Akinola and Timoty Weah are the big names in the squad who have played their trade in the European football for major clubs like PSG and Benfica.

The previous meeting between the two teams saw USA thump India 4-0 in a AIFF Youth Cup clash in Goa. However, India have improved vastly from there and have trained together to sharpen their on field co-ordination. India will seek inspiration from the heavily talented midfield comprising of skipper Amarjit Singh Kiyam alongside Jeakson Singh anchoring the midfield. India also makeup a decent attacking unit in Aniket jadhav backed by Komal Thatal who provides extra creative edge from the left.

While India would look to clinch their first ever World Cup victory, USA would be keen on feasting on the lack of experience of the Blues to launch their campaign with a win.

The match kicks off at 8:00 pm IST at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi

Here are the full squads of both the teams:


DEFENDERS: George Bello, Sergino Dest , Christopher Durkin , Christopher Gloster , Jaylin Lindsey, James Sands, Tyler Shaver, Akil Watts

MIDFIELDERS: George Acosta, Taylor Booth , Blaine Ferri , Chris Goslin , Alex Mendez, Indiana Vassilev

FORWARDS: Ayo Akinola, Andrew Carleton, Ulysses Llanez, Jacobo Reyes, Bryan Reynolds, Joshua Sargent       


GOALKEEPERS: Dheeraj Singh, Prabhsukhan Gill, Sunny Dhaliwal                         

DEFENDERS: Boris Singh, Jitendra Singh, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin, Hendry Antonay, Namit Deshpande

MIDFIELDERS: Suresh Singh, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Abhijit Sarkar, Komal Thatal, Lalengmawia, Jeakson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Md. Shahjahan

FORWARDS: Rahim Ali, Aniket Jadhav