The manner of Chile's 4-3 defeat to Ghana, which saw them crash out of the FIFA U-20 World Cup at the quarter-final stage, is one that can be perceived in many ways depending on your outlook.
For those of a positive disposition, it was almost certainly the South Americans' most impressive showing at Turkey 2013, while they gave every ounce of effort across a gruelling two hours in Istanbul. While the more pessimistic might focus on the fact that they relinquished a lead on two occasions and were a last-minute communication breakdown away from a penalty shoot-out.
Fortunately for Angelo Henriquez, he is very much a member of the first camp, reflecting on what remained a crushing defeat by finding the silver-linings, as well as looking to the future and the hopes of an appearance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. “There are many positive things for us to take from this match, I really believe that,” the forward, who scored twice on the night, exclusively told FIFA.com after the final whistle.
“I actually think this was our best performance here at the World Cup; the boys were incredible out there. But football isn’t always fair and unfortunately one good team had to go out tonight.”
With their elders currently fourth in South American qualifying and going well in pursuit of a spot at Brazil 2014, Henriquez believes the talent displayed in Turkey can only bolster the side in the future. “The future is bright for Chilean football, I think you can see that. The senior team is looking good right now and there are a lot of great players in there already,” the Manchester United man said.
“I think you have seen here that there is also a lot of young talent in Chile too, and hopefully we can play our part in the future. I definitely hope we’ll be back at more World Cups to represent our country, and I think a lot of the players in there have the ability to do that.”
The future is bright for Chilean football, I think you can see that.
Crestfallen coach Mario Salas was of a similar opinion, commending the talent and spirit of his young side who gave their all in search of reaching the last four. “I am certain that this group of players will be the foundation of Chilean football for years to come,” said the former La Roja international.
“Of course there are some issues that we will have to address from this tournament, but I think the positives we can take far outweighed the negative ones. My players stood tall in dressing room after the game, and each and every one of them was proud of effort they have showed.”
Even with the plus points to take away from the game and competition, Henriquez could not mask the disappointment of departing early. “We are all really sad right now but this tournament can be a big boost for us if it helps us get to the national team. If we keep developing and learning and working hard, I’m sure we’ll be able to look back on this in the future with a lot of happy memories.”
The pacey forward also found time to step back and praise the Black Satellites for their performance at the Ali Semi Yen Stadium, in what was a battle of endurance right to the last second – as the winning goal proved. “It was such a tough game and both teams really played incredibly well. But only one of us could win and, in the end, I think they were maybe just a little bit stronger than us,” he conceded.
“We have to congratulate them for keeping going until the very end. We have a strong team too but physically they are really powerful, and they never stop running. And of course, their final goal, coming when it did, gave us no chance at all to come back.”