The New Indian Express – MARGAO, It’s not often that Germans are dominated throughout, in a game of football. The 2010 World Cup semifinal against Spain was an exception. What happened at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday night was, however, remarkable because outplaying the boys from the land of the giants were Asians.
From the starting whistle to the long one, the Iran colts suffocated Germany. It was no gamble. Nothing was left to chance. They covered every inch and didn’t allow room, making most of the chances and spaces they got. The 4-0 scoreline was flattering. It was no fluke.
Coach Abbas Chamanian’s tactical brilliance was evident, as was every player’s urge to surpass himself.
Chamanian stressed the importance of team game. “I think I finally have a team. The boys looked after each other on the pitch. If anyone made a mistake, he was covered. This team will go a long way.”
There was one boy, however, instrumental in tearing apart the German defence. Younes Delfi scored twice in the first half as Iran left the Germans ruing their lapses that were exposed by his runs. He combined well with strike partner Allahyar Sayyad and was the undisputed star of the show.
After a not-so-impressive performance in the AFC U-16 Championship last year, Delfi has worked hard. While Mohammed Sharifi commanded interest from scribes and spectators, Delfi improved his fitness and conversion. With Sayyad, his roommate, they had made their own plans to go after the Germans.
“We saw many videos of Germany and we knew what they had to offer. We analysed them in details. We tried to take the ball straight at the German defenders. We used the space between the defenders and used our opportunities,” Delfi said.
Back home, Delfi is a midfielder, who also plays as a winger. At 17, he is already a regular for his club Esteghlal Khuzestan in the Persian Gulf Pro League. He played in all seven matches this season and started in three. His 83rd-minute strike against the second-placed Padideh Khorasan earned his club its only point so far.
“For him to play regularly in the PGP is a blessing for the team. He is an asset for club and country. The coaches and the management value his contribution,” said Amir Sedighi, Iran’s media manager.
Delfi knows there will be clubs pursuing him. But he believes in working hard, as his idol Cristiano Ronaldo does. He tries to learn his free-kick tricks. “To even be a shadow of Ronaldo, I need to work very hard. But my aim is to be better than him. One day I will.”
Lofty aim, but isn’t this the age to dream!