India must feel proud despite loss to Colombia: Mexico coach Arteaga

Kolkata, Oct 10: Mexico coach Mario Arteaga on Tuesday hailed India's spirited display against Colombia in a Group A tie in New Delhi, saying the hosts, who are playing their first World Cup at any level, can take pride in their performance. India lost by a slender 1-2 margin to all but bow out of the competition but gave a good account of themselves. Jeakson Thounaojam etched his name in India's football history in the 82nd minute when he headed in off a Sanjeev Stalin corner to become the first player from his country to score at a World Cup. "We had the chance to have India and Mexico couple of months ago in a training camp. We were really surprised about the big level of the Indian team," Arteaga told reporters on the eve of their second Group F FIFA U-17 World Cup clash against England. Mexico played India in a four-nation tournament in August as a tune-up to the mega youth event. The Indian colts lost by a 1-5 margin.  "And now they are big surprise with their performance up to now. But we understand it's like normal procedure when you are a local and have all the pressure of the country and all the excitement," Arteaga said. "What we have seen yesterday (Monday) is they had a great match. They had a good performance, coming back to history as the way they fought against a team that has more history (Colombia) or something but they had a great match. They must feel proud about their performance against Colombia," the coach added. Monday's loss means that India will have to beat Ghana by a big margin in their last group match and hope that Colombia lose to the US in order to enter the knockout phase. Mexico midfielder Alexis Gutierrez said India were unlucky not to win the match despite playing so well. "We played against India in a tournament in Mexico, they were really fighting strong and India deserved a victory last night. We watched the match. But unfortunately they committed two mistakes that Colombia latched on to and won. They must feel proud and looking forward for the tournament to have all support of fans," he said. In India's first-ever World Cup game, Luis Norton de Matos' boys lost to the United States 0-3. 

IANS