Navi Mumbai: Unheralded New Zealand will have a tough job at hand when take on Turkey in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Group B opening match at the D Y Patil Stadium here tomorrow.
New Zealand’s weak defence was exposed in the two practice games, which they lost to Brazil and England 1-2 and 2-3 respectively.
This would be an area of concern for their coach Daniel Hay who has been saying that his side needs to play their best if they want to do better than their last edition performance.
Last time in Chile in 2015, they made it to the Round of 16, eventually losing to Brazil.
With the likes of Oliver Whyte and skipper Max Mata, the Kiwi team has a strong attack and their mid-fielders and defenders will have to come to party to ensure that the side gives a tough competition to Turkey.
New Zealand, who are taking part in the tournament for the eighth time, were the first team to arrive in Mumbai and the only one to have to played two practice games. Turkey, who arrived later, did not have that luxury and depended only on the training sessions.
For Turkey, it will be for the first time they will be playing on the Indian soil. They have an array of strong players, who would like to make a mark.
Turkey have qualified for the U-17 World Cup on two previous occasions. In Peru 2005, they reached the semi-final, suffering a narrow 3-4 defeat at the hands of Brazil before losing the third place match 1-2 against the Netherlands.
Four years later in Nigeria, the Turks were unlucky to lose 3-5 on penalties to Colombia in the quarter-finals.
They are a confident side having made it to India by reaching the semifinals in the European qualifying tournament.
They lost to England 0-1 in the semifinals.
Turkey would like to have an aggressive approach from the word go and also have more possession of the ball.
But Turkey coach Mehmet Hacioglu had conceded that the three opposition teams in their group, including New Zealand, have players with much better physical strength.
“Realistically, the other three teams (in the Group) have more physical advantages. But we have lot of talented players and we can change this disadvantage into an advantage,” the Turkey head coach said.
The Teams (From):
New Zealand: Jacob Clark, Zac Jones, Nicholas Milner, Liberato Cacace, Boyd Curry, Ben Deeley, Matthew Jones, Joshua Rogerson, Jordan Spain, Emlyn Wellsmore, Willem Ebbinge, Elijah Just, Oliver Duncan, Kieran Richards, Kingsley Sinclair, Oliver Whyte, Leon Van Den Hoven. Matthew Conroy, Charles Spragg, Matthew Palmer, Max Mata.
Turkey: Berke Ozer, Emirhan Civelek, Melih Gokcimen, Sahan Akyuz, Ozan Kabak, Sefa Akgun, Ahmed Kutucu, Kerem Kesgin, Malik Karaahmet, Atalay Babachan, Recep Gul, Eren Bilen, Ismail Cokcalis, Umut Gunes, Yunus Akgun, Sezer Taskolu, Egehan Gok, Abdussamed Karnucu, Berk Cetin, Embiya Ayyildiz, Ozan Oruc.