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Indian U-17 Women’s Team Goes Down 0-2 To Mexico at Torneo Tournament in Italy

The Indian U-17 women’s football team underwent a steep learning curve in Italy, opening with a 0-7 loss against the hosts, followed by a 1-3 loss to Chile and a 0-2 defeat against Mexico. With just three months left for India to prepare for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at home, coach Thomas Dennerby is in a rush to give as much match exposure as possible for his players.
Indian Under-17 women's football team

The Indian U-17 women’s football team starting XI at the 6th Torneo Female women’s football tournament in Italy.

The Indian Under-17 women's football team went down 0-2 to Mexico in their last match of the 6th Torneo Female U-17 Football Tournament in Vilesse, Italy, on Sunday. With the result, India ended the Torneo campaign with three defeats from as many matches. The players underwent a steep learning curve at the tournament, opening with a 0-7 loss against hosts Italy. They gathered themselves and played much better in the 1-3 loss to Chile, and, despite the defeat, made a good account of themselves against Mexico. 

“Time is key for us,” said India coach Thomas Dennerby.  

“The more we play at this level where it’s more physical than the girls are used to, then we get better as a team,” he added. “Hopefully, we can take it step by step and start handling these games."

One can understand the race against time for this bunch of talented, yet inexperienced, players. In a little over three months, they play their opening match of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at home. The players lack match practice. It is evident from the three matches in Italy that given the exposure, these women can improve by leaps and bounds. Just that coach Dennerby has not much time left.  

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India begin their World Cup (to be staged from October 11 to 30) campaign on the opening day against the formidable USA, followed by matches against Morocco and Brazil on October 14 and October 17. All of India’s group matches will be played at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

“The girls are fighting and trying to do their best, but if you compare our team with the others, they are a bit more technical than us," said the coach from Sweden. 

“They’re a bit stronger, a bit quicker, so we need to take care of these games as a team, and not rely on individuals. But hopefully, if we can have a good game together, and have good results," he added, hinting that he would like to see the Indian strikers come of age in the coming two months.

“When we play teams of this level, we need to utilise the goal scoring chances we have. If we do that, we will be in a good position," he stated. “The only thing that we can do is to try and have good games."

India managed to score only once in Italy -- in their second match against Chile through Kajol. Against Mexico, some fine chances were created, but that final touch was missing. Mexico scored in each half through Katherin Sillas and Alice Gallegos to seal the match.

The game had a frantic start for the Indians with Mexico trying to wrest the tempo. India goalkeeper Melody Chanu was called into action early on, coming off her line to punch Mexican crosses and corners away from danger.

In the 14th minute, Chanu produced another save, but Sillas was present to direct the rebound back into the net.

India had a good chance from a freekick at the start of the second half but defender Purnima Kumari’s attempt went over the bar. Minutes later, Chanu was once again called into action to make a diving save.

To push things up front, India head coach Thomas Dennerby brought on Misha Bhandari and Pinku Devi in place of Naketa and Nitu Linda, with just a few minutes left on the clock. However, Mexico soon scored -- in the third minute of added time through Gallegos -- to take the match away from Indians who had committed  numbers up front to find that elusive goal. 

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