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This Is The Biggest Game For Us, Says England U-17 Coach Cooper

Tuesday, 24 October 2017|AIFF Media

England, who are brimming with confidence after outclassing the mighty USA in the quarter-final, are going to play their “biggest game so far” against Brazil in the semi-final tomorrow (October 25, 2017) to taste their maiden final appearance on the world stage in the U-17 age-group.

"Yes, we have been in a good touch until now and hopefully, we'll stick to our plan and would push ourselves to execute it on the pitch against the mighty Brazil. The boys know the importance of this game and they are ready to play their biggest game of the tournament,” England U-17 team gaffer Steve Cooper said at the pre-match press conference at the VYBK Stadium.

"We have lots of respect for Brazil team and coach Amadeu. We will give whatever we can to get the result tomorrow", Cooper showed his respect for the 3-time champion Selecao who got the better of Germany in the quarter-final to advance to the semi-final stage.

Having qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup thrice before, England could never reach the semi-final before 2017. Their best performance was back in 2007 and 2011 when they bowed out at the quarter-final stage following their defeats against Germany in both occasions.

"Yes, we are aware of the fact that we're the first England team to qualify for the semi-final of U-17 World Cup. We are immensely proud of that. It rightly shows that the development process is on track and the hard work is being paid off."

Cooper added more, "There has been really good work throughout and everyone right from the academies, clubs and FA are putting in their effort to attain the next level."

Despite having netted 15 goals so far in the ongoing tournament, gaffer Steve Cooper sounded extremely cautious before tomorrow's much-anticipated semi-final match.

"Our journey is yet to be finished. But our effort, the complete work needs to be recognised. The experience of staying throughout the full duration of the World Cup, almost 5 weeks, is simply invaluable in terms of long-term planning."

England Youth teams have been on a dream run of late, having won the FIFA U-20 World Cup, UEFA U-19 Championship. Coach Cooper went on to say that their success will add 'more motivation and inspiration' to his troop.

"Their success will add more motivation and inspiration to us and hopefully, we can emulate their success here."

The European U-17 Runners-up have enjoyed 100% success at the VYBK Stadium so far and the coach expressed his pleasure coming back to Kolkata before the humdinger.

"We had a wonderful time at Kolkata in the group stage and the Knockout game. We're excited to come back to Kolkata once again. We're enjoying our relationship with everyone - right from the hotel staff, management, media back here", the 37-year old coach said.

Meanwhile, he urged the England supporters to throng the stadium in numbers to match the decibel level set by the Selecao fans.

"It has been absolutely brilliant so far. We had a great experience playing here. We know that our opposition will enjoy the lion's share of support tomorrow. But, our boys should get used to that and it'll add to their experience. It'll be really great if we can turn them into our way", Cooper quipped.

The match is scheduled to kick-off at 05:00 PM.