New Zealand Under 17 team coach Daniel Hay admitted that his team are the underdogs coming into the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. New Zealand have been drawn in Group B with last year’s runners up Mali, Turkey and Paraguay. “We know that we are coming here and probably seen as the underdogs,” Hay is quoted as saying by PTI.
New Zealand play their group matches in Navi Mumbai and Hay was on a visit to the city ahead of his team’s arrival. He said that, while they may not have “past pedigree like of the other nations,” the Kiwis have been in this tournament before and will be drawing from their past experience against the teams in their group. “We have got a team with reasonable amount of talent but a tough group,” he said, “Mali are the losing finalists of the previous edition, we have played Paraguay in the previous World Cup in Chile, so we know that they come well prepared into the tournament and
their teams always possess a great amount of talent, like any other South American team they are going to be very tough to beat. Turkey having qualified from Europe is a big statement in itself.”
The official draw for the tournament was held on July 7. Navi Mumbai was initially slated to be the venue for Group A matches that included India but it was shifted to New Delhi before the draw. India’s group includes USA, Colombia and two-time champions Ghana. Brazil, in Group D, are the team that have won the tournament the most number of times with record winners Nigeria failing to qualify for this year’s tournament.