FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: 10 things to know, Part 5
The stage is set and with less than 10 days to go, all eyes turn to India as the country gears up to host its first ever FIFA World Cup. It has been almost four years since India was chosen as the host nation for the 2017 Under-17 World Cup. With the advent of the Indian Super League (ISL) and the frenzy over the World Cup, football has certainly captured the imagination of the Indian mass in recent years.
Grassroots initiatives have been introduced throughout the nation which can be primarily attributed to India gaining the hosting rights for this year's World Cup. Also, in a bid to provide players with international exposure, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has provided the Indian U-17 World Cup team with a trip to Europe followed by a tour to Mexico this year. With a bagful of experience under their belt, the Indian Colts will embark on their journey to make the nation proud and put the country on the world footballing map.
On that note, we bring to you the next article in Sportskeeda’s ‘FIFA U-17 World Cup - 10 things to know’ series that reveal 10 interesting facts about the U-17 World Cup that you probably didn’t know about.
1. Iran and Japan were the first two teams to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 while Niger and Mali were the last two to gain qualification for the tournament in India
2. Of the 22 associations that have qualified just once for the tournament, only Switzerland (2009) and the Soviet Union (1987) won the title at their first attempt
3. In the 2013 quarter-finals against Brazil, Mexico won the highest-scoring penalty shoot-out in the history of FIFA competitions. The end result was 11-10 to the Mexicans and 21 spot-kicks were scored from a total of 24 attempts, with the other three being saved.
4. In December 2015, Nigerian Samuel Chukwueze was retroactively awarded the Bronze boot award for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile. Kelechi Nwakali had erroneously been awarded the award immediately following the tournament but as he had played more minutes (630) than Chukwueze (535) in the tournament the award was re-allocated
5. Four Nigerians have won the Adidas Golden Ball award, the most for any country. They are Kelechi Nwakali (2015), Kelechi Iheanacho (2013), Sani Emmanuel (2009), Philip Osundo (1987)
6. Only twice have teams from the same confederation met in the final, with Ghana playing Nigeria in 1993, and Nigeria meeting Mali in 2015.
7. Brazil, Germany, Mexico, USA, Guinea and Costa Rica are the only 6 nations in this world cup to have also participated in the inaugural edition of the tournament when China hosted it in 1985.
8. USA are contesting their 16th U-17 World Cup and share the record for the most participation with Brazil
9. Tournament debutants Niger qualified for the tournament by defeating five-time winners and defending champions Nigeria. After losing the away leg 1-0, Niger won the return match 3-1 in the second qualifying round of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations
10. The FIFA U-17 World Cup was initially established in 1985 as the FIFA U-16 World Championship which was held in China. In 1991, it changed to FIFA U-17 World Championship and came to be known by its current name since 2007.
Keep following the series for more wacky and interesting facts about next month's FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be live and exclusive on SONY TEN 2 and SONY TEN 3.