The euphoria of routing Germany 4-0 in the U-17 World Cup on Tuesday seemed to be a thing of the past, the smiles and camaraderie at training in Benaulim on Thursday notwithstanding.Iran play Costa Rica in their concluding Group C encounter at the Nehru Stadium on Friday and expressed their approach and expectations after assuring themselves a spot in the knockout phase.The team's first aim is to go beyond the round of 16 for the first time ever and to enhance that chance, coach Abbas Chamanian recommends staying in Goa.
Meanwhile German captain Jann-Fiete Arp, the biggest name in the team, said that his players realised that they had to do something very different after the Iran game. Costa Rica's best chance fell to Julien Cordero who blasted wide from close range, attempting to score after the promising Yecxy Jarquin drew Ali Gholam Zadeh to a rare but spectacular save midway through the second half.
After brief period of midfield battle, Iran slowly opened up the rival defence with raids from the flanks and Costa Rica started feeling panicky, conceded two penalty in a span of four minutes. "This was a very, very tough game for my team", said a very relieved Wuck after his team defeated Guinea 3-1 in its last league game and qualified for the knockout stages.
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"There are some days when nothing works out, so we knew we had to take something from this game, we knew we had to do something different", said Arp, the Hamburg striker in the Bundesliga.
In the opening match against eventual table-toppers Iran, Guinea had 16 shots to the Iran's 23, but that ratio increasingly skewed towards them in subsequent games - 40 shots to Costa Rica's seven, and 22 to Germany's 17.
With the clock winding down, Wuck played another couple of cards, though one was enforced by an injury to Vagnoman late in the game. "I think we have a team that is strong in offence". They have topped the group with the full nine points from three matches. Guinea coach Souleymane Camara would later call him the best player on the pitch, both "tactically and physically".
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Wuck signed off by saying that the Round of 16 match against Colombia will be a hard one, the team will take rest and start the preparation for the match soon. We are happy to get to the Round of 16, for the moment.
"Colombia is a very good team, and we saw their last game on the TV yesterday". The German coach hailed the pitch at Kochi and said the "pitch could be compared to European standards, and the players were able to play better here". First of all we have to sleep.
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