Argentina's "Hell" Road in the Knockout Round
Argentina will face their biggest fear at the start of the knockout stages of the U-17 World Cup, namely teams from South America.
About AI Translated Article
Please note that this article was automatically translated using Microsoft Azure AI, Open AI, and Google Translation AI. We cannot ensure that the entire content is translated accurately. If you spot any errors or inconsistencies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll make every effort to address them. Thank you for your understanding.
The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI. The original article can be found in Jalan ”Neraka” Argentina di Babak Gugur
BANDUNG, KOMPAS - Being the top of Group D does not make Argentina's path smoother in the knockout stage of the 2023 U-17 World Cup. They have already anticipated two rivals from South America in the round of 16 and quarterfinals. Nevertheless, with many outstanding talents in the attacking line, the "Young Tango" team is not afraid.
In the previous edition of the U-17 World Cup 2019, Argentina was eliminated by their continental counterparts, Paraguay, in the round of 16. The nightmare came again before the knockout round match at Jalak Harupat Stadium, in Bandung Regency, on Tuesday night (11/21/2023). They were challenged by another South American representative (Conmebol), Venezuela.
If they pass, coach Diego Placente's team will face a bigger challenge. Their eternal rival team, Brazil, has been waiting for them in the quarterfinals. Brazil has just secured their spot in the next round after defeating Ecuador 3-1 at the Manahan Stadium in Surakarta on Monday evening local time.
Also read: Proving Mexico's Domination
According to Placente, meeting with European giants will actually be easier. "One thing for sure is that we know each other very well. That will make it harder for us. Of course, there are many great players in Europe, but it is no more complex than us (the Conmebol team) who have often met," he said.
The Young Tango team is not afraid. They have special talent in the attacking line, especially the striking duo of midfielders Claudio Echeverri and Ruberto Agustin. These two players have already combined for four goals and one assist during the group stage. They understand each other well because they come from the same club, River Plate.
"I have been playing with Agustin at River for 10 years. I have always been by his side since we were kids and we also played together. He is a very good person. On the field, he always shows himself as a reliable goal scorer. We will give everything for this team," said Echeverri.
Argentina is also superior in terms of psychology. They won two matches against Venezuela, 4-2 and 2-1, in the 2023 South American U-17 Cup. In one of these matches, Echeverri, nicknamed "The Little Devil", played fantastically, providing one goal and three assists, while Ruberto scored a pair of goals.
"We have enough quality (for rotation). Therefore, all players have the opportunity to appear in the World Cup. So far, they have been doing well."
It has never been easy to compete against a team from another continent. Pride and prestige are at stake. Moreover, the Venezuelan squad brings with them a grudge from a previous event. According to the coach of Venezuela, Ricardo Valino, they have learned a great deal from that bitter experience.
"We already know each other because we have competed in the South American Cup. We have evaluated those two defeats. This team has a strong and good attacking ability. Of course, this is a different competition. We are ready to face Argentina," said Valino, who led Venezuela to qualify through the third-best ranking route."
In the final group stage match, Venezuela suffered a heavy defeat to Germany, losing 0-3. They conceded a goal less than a minute into the game, which disrupted the game plan of the team coached by Valino. As for Venezuela, they had to travel from Jakarta to Bandung, just like Argentina.
In another match of the round of 16 at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium, Germany will be challenged by the "dark horse" team of the United States. Germany is strongly favored with a perfect record in the group stage. The team, which holds the European U-17 Cup trophy, won three consecutive victories and always managed to score three goals in each game.
Interestingly, Christian Wuck's team never uses the same 11 players in every match. According to Wuck, it will not affect the team's stability. "We have enough quality (for rotation). So, all players have the opportunity to play in the World Cup. So far they have been doing well," he said.
Also read: Eric Da Silva, Epicenter of German Balance
However, the German squad needs to be cautious. The atmosphere in the group stage is very different from the knockout phase. If they let their guard down even once, they may have to leave the tournament. Moreover, the US team is known for having a group of athletic players. In youth tournaments, physical dominance plays a big role.
"It will be very difficult for us for sure. They (the US) are strong and very fast, especially in attack. They are also solid in defense. So, we need to perform exceptionally well. The players have to come with confidence and belief. Those two things are the most important in the knockout phase," said Wuck.
The US squad must quickly recover following their decisive defeat to France 0-3 in the last Group E match. The team, under the guidance of coach Gonzalo Segares, was actually able to keep pace with their opponents. However, they were caught off guard due to a lack of concentration in the end of the first and second halves. Such mistakes must be paid for dearly.
Segares stated that the US squad is adamant about not making the same mistakes as they did against Germany. "They are a very solid team, difficult to beat. The players know each other well. They are also supported by great individual quality. Their attacks from both wings should be noted," he said.
Germany always uses a very fluid and wide 4-2-3-1 formation. The two wingers, Paris Brunner and Charles Herrmann, as well as the full-backs, Eric Moreira and Maximilian Hennig, are always the focal point of the "Young Tank's" attack. The majority of their goals also come from the wings.