Taiwan will take on New Zealand tonight in the second match of their Hero Cup Campaign in India. With the first game not going to plan as the young Taiwanese side were outplayed and outfought in the 5-0 loss to India, albeit a full senior Indian side.
They now know what it takes to compete with teams inside the top 100 of FIFA’s world rankings and after the great run they’d been on the confidence was high but the hope has to be that the defeat hasn’t knocked this young sides confidence too much, so that they can still approach the game without fear and play their natural game.
With so many of Taiwan’s senior players missing as their Chinese clubs refused to release them it has become a massive chance for the youngsters to step up, as well as providing an excellent platform for the player's development. Training is all well and good but no amount of training can or will ever replicate a competitive match scenario or an environment playing in front of a partisan home support.
There isn’t any doubt the players were hurting after the India game, now it comes down to which players have that mental toughness to keep calm and carry on.
New Zealand also brought a young side and lost their first game against Kenya, after the kiwi side took the lead; they then contrived to lose the game 2-1.
So two of the youngest sides in the tournament will lock horns in a battle tonight and again it’s advertised as being able to watch on hot star sports through the Internet, but we had great difficulty getting that to work last Friday and eventually found success in watching it on YouTube instead.
Taiwan vs New Zealand kicks off at 22:30pm Taiwan time.