USA coach John Hackworth was proud of his wards despite the score margin after his side were beaten 4-1 by England in a quarter-final clash of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup at Goa. The American coach described England as one of the best youth teams going around at the moment.
“We played some really good football. We came against one of the best teams in the world tonight. We had some good moments. At the same time, the goalkeeper (Curtis Anderson) for England was up to the task. We also didn't start the game in the right way,” Hackworth said at the post match press conference.
Hackworth took the loss on his chin and said that such experiences can ultimately help the team progress immensely in the future.
“I don't think you ever get better without setbacks. When you face a situation like this, you have two choices. You can either learn from it or if you don't then it's the worst thing you could do. The players in the locker room are hurt right now. So we'll try to emphasise on the positive and pick up from the pieces to do better (in the future),” he remarked.
The coach was seen in an animated mood throughout the match and was asked about it in the presser and it seems he took umbrage to choice of match officials for the game.
“I wasn't animated with our team. I was animated with what we were being challenged with. I can't mention that, or I'll get fined a lot of money, but that was unbelievable. I have no idea why a UEFA crew were officiating a UEFA team. It's not acceptable in my opinion,” he concluded.
His English counterpart Steve Cooper was delighted to have guided the Young Lions to their first ever U17 World Cup semi-finals.
“We'll stick to the plan one step at a time. It's important to recognise that England have made it to the top four in the U17 World for the first time. So we have created a little bit of a history back in England. We will recover tomorrow and stick to our processes,” Cooper said.
Cooper disagreed with Hackworth’s criticism of an UEFA referee officiating for the game.
“I thought the referee (Clement Turpin from France) refereed very well. We trust FIFA and the decisions that they make. You just got to look at the football that we put in tonight. That was the biggest aspect of winning the game,” he said.
Asked if he would prefer Brazil or Germany as his semi-final opponents, the English gaffer said his side was prepared for either side.
“We've played both teams in the last 12 months. Obviously, we have a good relationship with Germany and we play a lot of games throughout the U17. We played Brazil recently and they are two really good coaches, two really good teams worthy of being in the quarterfinals. It's a game we look forward to watching and whoever comes through, congratulations to them and we will be prepared for them,” he said to conclude.