FIFA U-17 World Cup: With USA out of World Cup, young Americans look to heal wounds here

Oct 12, 2017, 09:04 IST | A Correspondent

The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986 after a shock 2-1 defeat to already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday

The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 after a shock 2-1 defeat to already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobag o on Tuesday. Several longitudes and latitudes away from home, USA's U-17 side, currently in the city to gear up for their next FIFA U-17 World Cup Group A game against Colombia today, are a heart-broken unit.

USA coach John Hackworth
USA coach John Hackworth

"It is unacceptable that we didn't qualify. It's a tough day for American soccer and particularly tough for the fans. We expected to be in that World Cup," U-17 coach John Hackworth told reporters on the sidelines on the team's official training at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul yesterday.

With their senior men's team out of the reckoning, a lot of hope will rest on the shoulders of the The Stars and Stripes, who are already through to the Round of 16 with back-to-back wins against hosts India (3-0) and Ghana (1-0). Hackworth admits the focus will be on Josh Sargent and Co. but he understands that it will be tough for "17-year-olds to really know what that pressure means".

"It does put a little more focus on our team right now. The attention of our fans will be on our team because there's still hope. Our boys don't really know what pressure means. Despite their young age, I hope they can grasp a little bit of that pressure because that's key for a talented group. They need to know how to deal with pressure," he added.

Having already qualified for the next stage with a game left, Hackworth is determined to seal top spot in Group A with Colombia desperate for a win to qualify. "The next round is significantly easier if you finish first, both in terms of who you may get in that round and also the amount of rest you can have. You can be looking at a swing from a three-day rest to a six-day rest. We're facing a Colombian team that's excellent. Our task is going to be huge tomorrow," he said.

 

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