Intrepid hosts set to create history with World Cup bow

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Matos was pretty honest in assessing India's chances - saying that information on teams was easy to obtain these days but his side still had a few factors that could take US by surprise. It was converted into the Under-17 World Championship in 1991 before being rechristened as the Under=17 World Cup in 2007.

But, Friday is all about the fact that an Indian team is playing the World Cup for the first time ever. Colombia, too, aren't far behind, having appeared in six editions of the tournament. If they were overawed, the fears were dispelled after an agonising first quarter when they hardly touched the ball.

Indian coach De Matos has said his focus would be on strong defence and not to concede goals. The lone chance for India came late in the first half when Aniket Jadhav tested the rival goalkeeper.

Most of the American players ply their trade in Major League Soccer youth teams and a couple of them are set to play in top European clubs as well.

"If we're well organized their speed does not matter, because we will be in position to stop them. our strategy was to defend in our own half and go for the counter attack". In stead of getting disheartened by 2-0 deficit, India went all out in the remaining time pushing their much superior opponents in every department of the game.

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A hint of bad luck put India two goals behind early in the second half.

The result was on expected lines, and the Portuguese acknowledged US's superiority, and the Indians' lack of experience at this level. This half, both teams displayed some great attacks, but neither side could score. Host countries can be tough at World Cups and the US did its best to not get rattled in a hostile environment. "The players know what they will be facing tomorrow against the U.S.", said the coach. The Indian side at least tried well in a high-pressure match as this was their first FIFA World Cup game.It wasn't a disappointing night at all for India.

A defensive mix-up gave Thotal a golden chance to open the account for India, but his chip shot flew over the U.S. goal.

Indian football's date with destiny didn't have a fairytale ending, but it still gladdened fans who had come not expecting a win but an unlikely draw or a heartwarming effort. Winning and losing are part and parcel of the game.

When asked about the environment to an elder couple - Dhrub Mitra and Laxmi Mitra, they said: "We are here to support India. That's one thing we've learned". Joe Blatter's was secretary in general who was in Singapore for the 1982 Lion City Cup and his encouragement successfully created Federation Internationale de Football Association U-16 World Championship. India's first priority on Friday will be to ensure their defensive organisation is flawless against a side which is very strong offensively.

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