ALAN VACCARO & LINUS LINDAHL/ AIPS in FUJAIRAH: Nothing went right for coach Rafael Dudamel as a 4-0 defeat by Russia ended Venezuela’s campaign at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013.

Venezuela ended the Group D bottom of the table with no points and only one goal scored. Then Dudamel found himself being manhandled by a security officer after the game in a misunderstanding over his accreditation.

Dudamel, even in final defeat, looked for positives and lessons. He praised his players because they “did all their best” and that he, and not them, should take all the blame on their return home to South America.

He said: “When a team lose it is very hard to highlight the good things. But one of the things our team and our players have to know is that they have to grow up as professional players and also they have to forget about playing individually and play as a team.”

A priority for the future should be the playing of more international games to allow for better tournament preparation.

Venezuela’s crestfallen players agreed that despite the disappointing resuls the experieme would be valuable for them in the future.

Diego Osio said: “We have grown as people and as players. That is a lesson to keep growing, getting victories and keep climbing for bigger targets.” He was sad that the dream of being world champions had proved beyond them and “because we weren’t able to give the country what they wanted. We know we did everything until the end.”

The stress was illustrated by an incident after Dudamel’s press conference. The coach had left his accreditation in the locker room and was grabbed aggressively by a security officer. Dudamel reacted angrily but peace was quickly restored.


* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA

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