Group Stage FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: India vs Columbia
Date: 6th October
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi
81st-minute. Aniket Jadhav has won the corner for India. Sanjeev Stalin with one of the best deliveries from … and Jackson Singh jumps among the yellow shirts at the near post to nod the first goal of Indian Football Team in any FIFA World Cup. GOOOAAAAALLLLLLL. India 1-1 Columbia.
82nd minute. Penaloza makes the run to the left flank and before the ‘emotional’ Indian Colts could recover, he sends the ball past the ‘heroic’ Indian Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh into the nets. India 1-2 Columbia.
Yes, India was going to face 2nd defeat of their World Cup Campaign after the drubbing against the USA. But this defeat was not against any Asian Heavyweights but against Columbia. Columbia, one the footballing powerhouses who ply their trade in the South America has produced stars like James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado to name among the newer generation. The Footballing culture of 48.6 million nation can be predicted from the fact that they have qualified for the World Cup finals for 6th times dating from 1962 to more recently the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The 48k Football fans present in the stadium were satisfied with India’s performance in the 2nd match till the 81st minute. Anything better than a humiliation would have worked but the scoreline in binary raised some hopes among the fans. The youth team of a country whose FIFA Ranking is 10 was finding it difficult against a team whose men’s ranking is 107. All the build-up, each tackle, each save, each cross, each goal in their road to the preparation of their first ever world cup appearance was on display. Interestingly, the goal came from a highly unlikely source. The physique factor was one of the major weaklings for the team going into the world cup but the header was an absolute stunner. The goal by Jackson Singh was neither a fluke nor an individual magic but a fruit borne out of sheer hard work, dedication, and passion. That celebration comprising of the fist pumps and hugs near the ‘crazy gone’ crowd in the stands would remain fresh in hearts of the players, support staff and the Indian football fans forever.
With Indian Men Team qualifying for Asian Cup 2019 in UAE, the days are bright for upcoming generation. With ISL and I-League turning more competitive leagues, Indian Clubs are better compared to their situation a deade back. With more chances, the upcoming generation will surely stamp their authority in World Football.