NEWS DESK: The 24 teams that will participate in the 17th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 were finalized earlier this week. The fate of these teams with respect to where the teams will play across the six venues later this year will be decided through the official draw ceremony to be held in Mumbai on July 07, 2017.
As we move closer and closer to the draw, here’s a quick look at some of the teams who will fight their way to supremacy to win the third most precious footballing crown in the World.
While defending champions Nigeria and football powerhouse Argentina fail to secure the ticket for this edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, teams such as Germany, England, Spain, Brazil, Ghana, New Zealand, etc. have started their preparations in full swing and will be travelling to India soon to represent their respective countries. Brazil’s U-17 superstar Vinícius Júnior was signed by Real Madrid for a whopping 38 million euros this week, this speaks volume about the kind of football India can expect when the tournament kicks off on October 06, 2017.
Here’s a closer look of the teams participating in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017:
In what will be their first appearance since 2007, two-time FIFA U17 World Cup champions Ghana secured their place in the 2017 edition by topping their group in the 2017 Africa U17 Cup of Nations.
Tournament joint top scorer Eric Ayiah has been a key member of the Ghanaian attack and will look to finish on a high with a victory in the final of the 2017 Africa U17 Cup of Nations against Mali.
Guinea made their first appearance in the first ever edition of the tournament in 1985 (then called the FIFA U16 World Championships) and achieved their best result, finishing 4th
Finishing 2nd behind Ghana in the group stages, Guinea went on to the semi finals of the 2017 Africa U17 Cup of Nations, sealing their spot for the FIFA U17 World Cup India 2017
In a total of four appearances, Mali’s best finish as runners-up came in the 2015 edition, losing out to Nigera in the finals.
Having secured their place in the 2017 edition of the tournament in India, Mali will now aim to end their continental run on a high with a win against Ghana in the finals of the 2017 Africa U17 Cup of Nations.
This will be Niger’s first ever appearance in a FIFA tournament.
Niger scraped through to seal qualification from group B of the 2017 Africa U17 Cup of Nations, pipping Tanzania by the number of goals scored.
India’s Portuguese coach Luis Norton de Matos who assumed control of the Indian U-17 side in March 2017 has an Indian connection as the Gaffer’s great grandfather was born in India.
In 2002 India managed to make it to the quarter-finals of the AFC U-16 Championship where they were defeated by Korea Republic.
Iran topped Group A at the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship, due to their enjoying a better goal difference than second-placed UAE. They then made certain of their place at the U-17 World Cup by comfortably disposing of Vietnam (5-0) in the quarter-finals, before beating Korea DPR in the semi-finals via a penalty shoot-out, following a 1-1 draw.
4 – The number of Iranian players who scored a total of three goals at the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship. Ali Reza Asadabadi, Allahyar Sayyad, Mohammad Sharifi and Mohammad Ghaderi scored 12 of the 13 goals recorded by Iran in the competition, with Amir Khodamoradi bagging the 13th.
Iraq have only one FIFA U-17 World Cup appearance to their name, at UAE 2013. Iraq emerged victorious from the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship, defeating Iran in the final claiming their first Asian Championship.
With six goals, Iraqi forward Mohammed Dawood was the leading goal scorer and the player of the tournament at 2016 AFC U-16 Championship.
Despite reaching the semi-finals of the AFC U-16 Championship, Korea DPR won just two of their five matches in the entire tournament.
They have progressed beyond the group phase on three occasions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup (in 2005, 2007 and 2015).
Japan will be featuring in their eighth FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, having reached the quarter-finals on two occasions.
Coach Hirofumi Yoshitake boasts lengthy experience of what it takes to achieve success at this level, having led the team in both the 2011 and 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cups.
With 24 goals, Japan were the highest goal scoring team in the AFC U-16 Championship.
The 24 goals were scored in mere five games, averaging around 5 goals per game i.e. a goal every 14 minutes (roughly).
England only reached their inaugural FIFA U-17 World Cup a decade ago, with India 2017 representing the Young Lions’ fourth outing on the global stage at this age level.
Their debut at Korea 2007 saw a side including Danny Welbeck reach the quarter-finals where they were well beaten by Germany. Last time out, at Chile 2015, Neil Dewsnip’s side failed to reach the knockout stages.
England headed into the 2017 UEFA U-17 European Championship finals full of confidence, thanks to a 100 per cent record in both the qualifying round and elite round.
England won 11 matches on the bounce throughout UEFA U-17 European Championship qualifying, elite rounds and the finals themselves before the 2-2 draw in the final against Spain where the Young Lions tasted defeat.
France have only featured in five of the 16 editions of the tournament to date.
The nation that has produced some great players such as Theirry Henry, Zindane, Ribery, etc. won the 2001 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in rinidad and Tobago. However their joy was short-lived as the triumph was followed by a 11 year absence from the competition.
Star attacker Gouiri scored a record-breaking nine times in five matches at the 2017 U-17 EURO in Croatia.
Germany have been eliminated by the eventual champions in three of their last four appearances.
Germany recorded seven victories from as many games up until the European Championship semi-final, scoring 36 goals and conceding just six.
Coach Christian Wuck has been associated with German Football Association since 2012, taking charge of the U-16s and U-17s, among others.
Despite their record haul of three UEFA European U-17 Championships, and five other titles when the event was still an U-16 tournament (also a record), Spain have never managed to capture the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The Spanish booked their ticket for India 2017 by claiming another European U-17 crown in Croatia in May.
Substitute Nacho Diaz scored in the dying minutes of the European U-17 Championship finals against England taking the game eventually to penalty shootouts.
India 2017 will represent Costa Rica’s tenth appearance on the global stage at U-17 level.
Their win against France in the 2015 edition of the tournament was their first in a knockout stage of a FIFA U-17 World Cup.
7 – The number of matches it took for Honduras to win their first U-17 World Cup game.
Having played no part in the opening two decades of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Honduras have been something of a mainstay over the past ten years. Los Catrachos graced the event for the first time at Korea Republic 2007 and, while they failed to win a game there or next time out at Nigeria 2009.
USA have participated in 15 of the 16 editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, having only missed out in 2013.
The Stars and Stripes best showing to date has been at New Zealand 1999, where they came fourth, narrowly missing out on a spot in the final after losing to Australia on penalties in the semi-finals.
5 – Almost half of the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship’s ‘Best XI’, as voted by the Technical Study Group of the tournament, were from USA: goalkeeper Justin Garces, defenders Jaylin Lindsey and James Sands, midfielder Chris Durkin and forward Josh Sargent all made the cut.
Since the turn of the century, Mexico have enjoyed something of a golden era at U-17 level.
Between 2010 and 2013, Raul Gutierrez continued the superb work of his predecessors, including their inaugural FIFA U-17 World Cup title at Peru 2005.
Mexico won their second title on home soil in 2011.
Mexico scored 22 goals in just six games at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, a tally not bettered by any of their opponents at the continental finals.
India 2017 will mark New Zealand’s eighth participation in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and their sixth in succession.
New Zealand’s first participation in a FIFA tournament was representation in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Egypt 1997. New Zealand alongside Australia hosted the next edition of the U-17 World Cup – a first to be held in Ocenia region.
This will be the first time New Caledonia play in a FIFA tournament. Despite being Oceania’s newest member New Caledonia boast a rich football history.
New Caledonia competed in the initial OFC U-17 Championship in 1983 (which then a U-16 event), and they reached the final in 2003 though were ineligible to qualify for the World Cup at that point.
Despite the undefeated group stage campaign and an impressive quarter and semi finals, New Caledonia capitulated to a 7-0 defeat against New Zealand in the championship decider in what was their fifth match in 14 days.
The 3 time champions, Brazil are one of the strongest teams in this year’s tournament. Only Nigeria (5 times) have more the FIFA U-17 World Cup more than Brazil. However Brazil last won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2003, a year after their senior team won their last FIFA World Cup in Korea & Japan.
Japan 1993 is the only time Brazil missed out on qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Brazil went unbeaten in lifting this year’s South American U-17 title, winning seven of their matches and drawing the other two. Their domination of the competition was underlined by the fact that they scored more goals than any other side (24), conceded fewer (three) and boasted both the leading goalscorer (Vinicius, with seven) and the player providing most assists (Alan, with five).
Brazil kept a whopping 7 clean sheets After doing a solid job in the youth ranks at Vitoria, Carlos Amadeu took charge of the Brazil U-17 side in May 2015, in the lead-up to the U-17 World Cup in Chile that year.
India 2017 will be Chile’s fourth appearance at a FIFA U-17 World Cup and their second in a row after hosting the tournament in 2015.
Their tournament debut came at Japan 1993, where they took everyone by surprise in finishing third, their best performance to date.
1 nil to the Arsenal? Not anymore!! 1-0 was the scoreline in all five of Chile’s wins in the South American qualifiers.
India 2017 will be Colombia’s sixth appearance at a FIFA U-17 World Cup and their first since Nigeria 2009.
In charge of the team since August 22016, coach Orlando Restrepo has never played professional football.
India 2017 will be Paraguay’s fourth appearance at a FIFA U-17 World Cup. Their debut, and best result to date, came at New Zealand 1999, where they finished fifth.
1.77 – Paraguay’s goals-per-game average during the qualifiers. With 16 strikes in total, they had the second most potent attack of South America’s four qualified sides behind that of champions Brazil.