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U-17 World Cup Iran ready for tough Costa Rica

Margao: Iran haven’t lost sight of the big picture. 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. That boils down to beating Costa Rica to guarantee topping the group.

“Goa is a good omen for us,” the stoic Chamanian said. And with good reason.

The Iranians reached the final of the AFC U-16 Championships here last year, losing only in a penalty shootout to arch-rivals Iraq and have scintillated so far in the World Cup to win both matches.

But keeping superstition aside, the surge here would suggest that Iran have brought every last ounce of their experience in Goan conditions into their effervescent display at Fatorda while outplaying Guinea 3-1 and demolishing fancied Germany 4-0.

Much as the ambience at Benaulim appeared relatively relaxed, Iran’s philosophy after winning a match offers no let-up in intensity.

“When we win any match, we think more about any point of weaknesses. We try to learn lessons from them,” Chamanian said as he looks ahead to the encounter against Costa Rica.

“Costa Rica is the toughest team in our group. They play hard and it will be difficult to get three points from this match,” the coach said.

More so because Ricardo Montenegro in the Costa Rica goal has been in spectacular form, doing much to earn his team a vital point against Guinea in a 2-2 draw and will be called upon to keep Younes Delfi, two-goal hero against Germany, at bay.

Costa Rica coach Breansse Camacho dotes on Montenegro but also reposes faith in his defence who will be stretched to the limit, given Iran’s prowess to make the play.

However, much will depend on the Central Americans’ energy resources in their third-straight 5pm kick-off, a factor that Camacho takes it in his stride.

“We knew about the schedule right from the start and have to accept it,” he said even while hoping for a better show of intensity during key moments. The Costa Ricans twice surrendered the lead against Guinea and threw away a point in the dying moments of their opener against Germany through a defensive howler.
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Source: U-17 World Cup Iran ready for tough Costa Rica

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