For the first time since 1985, the FIFA U-17 World Cup is making its way to India; even though the tournament has been hosted more often than not on Asian soil. Not only is India hosting her first ever FIFA tournament, but also will be making their debut in this competition across all formats, male or female.
The World Cup begins on October 6 and will go on end on October 28 in Kolkata.
Here are 25 interesting factoids about the World Cup which kicks off on October 6 in New Delhi and Mumbai simultaneously.
1. From 1985 to 2005, the FIFA U-17 World Cup featured 16 teams divided into four groups of four teams. Since 2007, the tournament was expanded to 24 teams.
2. USA and Brazil share the record for most participation in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Both of them are contesting their 16th U-17 World Cup in this edition.
3. More editions of the U-17 World Cup have been held in Asia than in any other continent. The campaign in India will be the fifth after those staged in China (1985), Japan (1993), Korea Republic (2007) and United Arab Emirates (2013).
4. Nigeria have won the tournament five times (1985, 1993, 2007, 2013, 2015). They are the most successful country, having also finished runners-up three times (1987, 2001, 2009). However, they failed to qualify for this India edition.
5. Brazil have won thrice (1997, 1999, 2003) while Ghana (1991, 1995) and Mexico (2005, 2011) have done so twice. The then Soviet Union (1987), Saudi Arabia (1989), France (2001) and Switzerland (2009) have won the tournament once each.
6. Ghana reached the final four times in a row (1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997), winning twice (1991 and 1995).
7. India are the 18th Asian team to take part in the U-17 World Cup.
8. Three teams are making their debut in this India edition — Niger, New Caledonia as well as hosts India.
9. A total of 12 players who have played in FIFA U-17 World Cup have also represented their countries in a FIFA World Cup Finals.
10. Brazil’s Ronaldinho is the only player to have won both FIFA U-17 (1997) and FIFA World Cup Finals (2002) title.
11. Out of those who have played both the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FIFA World Cup, Mario Gotze (2009), Emanuel Petit and Andres Iniesta are the only three players to have scored in a FIFA World Cup Finals.
12. Out of those who have played both the FIFA U-17 World Cup as well as the FIFA World Cup, Iker Casillas is the only one who has won FIFA World Cup as a captain (in 2010).
13. Chouki Ben Saada, Neven Subotic, Victor Moses, Tommy Smith and Hassan Yebda are some of the players who went on to play for a different team (in the FIFA World Cup Finals) from the one they represented in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
14. The most attended match of U-17 World Cup remains the 2011 final between Mexico and Uruguay which was attended by 98,943 spectators at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
15. The most goals scored in a tournament was in the UAE in 2013 (172 goals in 52 matches, with an average of 3.31 goals per match).
16. Excluding the first edition of the tournament in 1985, the highest number of debutant teams was seven in 1987, 1989 and 2007.
17. In 1987, 1989, 1999 and 2007, the final was decided on penalties. All other finals were decided in regular time.
18. Two sides have netted over a century of goals in the U-17 World Cup, namely Brazil and Nigeria with 166 and 149 respectively. Spain are on 97 and could reach the 100 mark in India, along with Mexico (97), Germany (92) and Ghana (86).
19. Only Brazil and Nigeria have successfully defended their title: Brazil (1997 in Egypt and 1999 in New Zealand) and Nigeria (2013 in the UAE and 2015 in Chile).
20. Only twice have teams from the same confederation met in the final, with Ghana playing Nigeria in 1993, and Nigeria meeting Mali in 2015.
21. An estimated global TV viewership of 200 million is expected in this edition. SONY TEN 2 and SONY TEN 3 are the official broadcasters and they will share its feed in over 185 countries.
22. Florent Sinama Pongolle of France was the first ever U-17 World Cupper to win the Golden Boot as well as the Golden Ball in 2001.
23. 14-year-old Freddy Adu scored a hat-trick in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013 and followed it up with a hat—trick in FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007 to become the first footballer to achieve a hat-trick at the World Cups of both age levels.
24. Four Nigerians have won the Golden Ball Award, the most for any country. They are Kelechi Nwakali (2015), Kelechi Iheanacho (2013), Sani Emmanuel (2009), Philip Osundo (1987).
25. Souleymane Coulibaly (Ivory coast), Florent Pongolle (France) and Marcel Witeczek (Germany) are the only three players to have scored two hat-tricks in FIFA U-17 World Cup.