India’s U-17 national team crashed out of the 2017 U-17 World Cup being held in their nation, but despite the loss the country can be proud of their achievement in their first ever World Cup finals appearance across any age group.
The final group game against Ghana was always expected to be India’s hardest group game and the 4-0 loss wasn’t unexpected.
However, despite the defeat India can still be incredibly proud of their debut appearance at a World Cup finals across any age group.
Their players competed at a level during the tournament that was commendable, and a performance that means they can walk away with their heads held high.
Despite their losses to Ghana, United States and Colombia, it should be understand that the players in the Indian team do not have competitive game experience, while their counterparts all play age-group competitions week in, week out.
The quality between India and their opponents was very apparent, but was no surprise either. The other countries have long-established youth programs, and vast experience in World Cup finals at not only U-17 level, but across all age groups.
India, in contrast, have drawn together a team of youngsters from across the country who have talent but little to no competitive match experience.
As such, the resilient and spirited performances of India are something to be proud of, and something that India can use to build on and push forward.
For the world’s most populous country, who have made a commitment to improving its football culture, infrastructure and success, it is a fantastic start that can be built upon.
It showed that, despite the poor results, there is still talent there in the youth ranks and that, with the right training and facility improvements, India could become a footballing force in the future.