FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: European Champions, Spain, confirm 21-man squad set to travel to India
What's the story?
La Roja has announced their 21-man-squad that will travel to India for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Spain qualified by winning the final of the U-17 Euro Championships by defeating England in a well-contested final. The Spaniards equalized in the death of extra time and eventually went on to win the game on penalties.
In case you didn't know...
While the Spaniards are 3 time Euro winners and 4 time Euro runners-up, they've never managed to go the distance in a U-17 World Cup. They finished as runners-up in 1993, 2001 and 2007 and, surprisingly, didn't even qualified for the last 3 editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The heart of the matter
Head coach, Santiago Denia, has made over 300 appearances in La Liga as a defender for Albacete and Atletico Madrid. He has also won a double as a player and conquered La Liga and Copa del Rey with Atletico Madrid in the 1995-96 season.
He also played many games for the Spain at the U-18 to U-23 stages and a few for the senior team as well. His experience as a player and numerous managerial stints at Atletico Madrid and the Spain U-16 and U-17 teams will definitely prove to be instrumental in guiding his Spanish team to winning their first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup.
The players he has chosen to represent the team are:
GOALKEEPERS: Alvaro Fernandez (Malaga CF), Marc Vicente Vidal (Villareal CF), Alfonso Pastor (Sevilla FC)
DEFENDERS: Mateu Jaume (FC Barcelona), Juan Miranda (FC Barcelona), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Victor Chust (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (Manchester City), Victor Perea (RCD Espanyol)
MIDFIELDERS: Antonio Blanco (Real Madrid), Mohamed Aiman (Real Madrid), Alvaro Garcia (Albacete Balompie), Carlos Beitia (Villareal CF)
FORWARDS: Ferran Torres (Valencia), Abel Ruiz (FC Barcelona), Sergio Gomez (FC Barcelona), Ignacio Diaz (Villareal CF), Pedro Ruiz (Real Madrid), Diego Pampin (Celta Vigo), Jose Lara (Sevilla FC), Cesar Gelabert (Real Madrid).
Spain has been drawn in Group D along with South American Champions, Brazil, and Niger and North Korea. Spain will commence Group D with their opening game against Brazil on 7th October at 5 pm IST. The game will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, Kerala. All three of Spain's group games will take place at the same venue.
The Spanish squad will feature 10 players that have emerged from Barcelona and Real Madrid's world-renowned youth academies; La Masia and La Fabrica, respectively. The Spaniards are quick and play a beautiful passing game that will definitely cause some anxiety among opposition defenders.
La Roja players also seem to have mastered penalties with their impressive, almost-perfect record during the Euros. Captain and star forward, Abel Ruiz, will certainly be the player to watch out for as he scored 4 goals during the Euros and is top scorer in the history of the Spain U-17 team and Euro U-17 Championship.
Keep an eye out on the FC Barcelona forward as he will look to break another record during the tournament of the most appearances for the Spain U-17 National team.