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6:00 am - Monday November 20, 2017

Standard in India very high: Campbell

Agencies, Kolkata

Former England international footballer Sol Campbell today showered encomiums on India, saying, “ The standard here has been very high.” He said, “Lots of people in India have a connection to football and FIFA have done a fantastic job here in giving them this tournament.”

“I think that in the future, India would definitely be ready to host a FIFA World Cup. We’re obviously in a cricket-dominated country, but it could be done – the support would be there. There are over a billion people here, so I’m also sure that there’s enough potential for India to participate at a World Cup at some point in the future,” Campbell said.

“The standard and quality have been very high up until now. The players are only 16, 17 years old, which we shouldn’t forget. I saw a lot of good things in the semi-finals. The games moved quickly from defence to attack and there was often some high pressing to go with that. There’s a lot of energy on show, teams demand to have the ball and place a lot of importance on possession,” he said.

English football has produced countless top-class defenders down the years, and there can be no doubt that Sol Campbell falls into that category. The 43-year-old turned out 73 times for the Three Lions between 1996 and 2007, participated at three FIFA World Cups and made over 400 appearances in England’s Premier League for Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Portsmouth and Newcastle United.

At the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, Campbell has been working with the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) analysing events on the pitch. Campbell said the standard and quality have been very high up until now. The players are only 16, 17 years old, which we shouldn’t forget.

I saw a lot of good things in the semi-finals. The games moved quickly from defence to attack and there was often some high pressing to go with that. There’s a lot of energy on show, teams demand to have the ball and place a lot of importance on possession, he said.

Campbell said tactically the players are already very advanced in their development, especially the European teams, though I do feel that sometimes they go into one-on-one situations too often. They have no fear, and that’s a good thing.

There are fans in the stadiums watching them, but the players aren’t quite in the full media spotlight. The final on Saturday is an all-European affair: Spain versus England, Campbell said, it will be an even match.

Both teams have impressed so far and they already came up against each other at the European U-17 Championship. That game needed a penalty shootout to produce a winner, which shows that they’re evenly matched.

Posted in: Sports

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