- Haiti suffered a narrow defeat in opening game
- At just 14, Melchie Dumonay is the youngest member of the squad
- All or nothing match against Nigeria is next
Haiti may have lost 2-1 to China PR in their opening match at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup France 2018, but their fans nevertheless celebrated as if they had just won, singing and dancing to the beat of the drums. The players were cheered as they left the pitch and their path to the team bus was lined with waving flags amid a jubilant atmosphere.
Given that backdrop, Melchie Dumonay was almost able to smile despite the reverse. "Obviously it's disappointing to lose," she told FIFA.com. "You play to win. We set out to defend well and we showed the world that we could do it."
Haiti very nearly pulled off a remarkable achievement. Often it was only a matter of centimetres – or that little bit of luck – that came between them and scoring. Dumonay, who is only 14, had a number of presentable chances but was unable to convert them into goals. However, the midfielder is not one to dwell on the past and is already focusing on the next game, when she will be counting on the fans' support once again.
"The crowd cheering us on was definitely a massive help," she said. "That will push us forward in our next match and help us achieve our objective. We want to reach the next round."
Not that Dumonay was giving anything away ahead of the next assignment. "I'm not going to reveal anything about our formation or tactics," she said with a grin. "We came here to take the next step. Our win against Canada [a surprise 1-0 victory in the play-off for third-place at the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship] was no accident. We're going into the match against Nigeria looking to win and stay in this tournament."
With the incredible support of their fans spurring them on, the Caribbean nation are capable of anything.