FIFA U17 World Cup 2017: 5 teams which can exit in group stages
The FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 will be coincidentally the 17th edition of the tournament, but the very first FIFA tournament hosted by India. Although the tournament will feature 24 teams, only 16 will move on to the knockout stage. Out of the 24, three teams will make their debut in the tournament this year including host nation India. Let's have a look at five countries that may miss out on reaching the knockout stages:
The small island nation will be featuring in the tournament for the first time. They have finished second thrice in the OFC U17 Championship. Although they reached the finals of OFC U17 Championship 2017 in style after defeating Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, New Caledonia were thrashed by the New Zealand team 7-0 in final.
This depicts that they are not totally ready for the tournament against the big guns. They will be missing their top scorer Paul Gope-Fenepej and thus the onus lies on the 16-year-old Caledonian top scorer Bernard Iwa to sail them through to the knockout rounds. The 21-member squad consists of players from 12 different domestic clubs and thus coordination among the team members might be an issue. They will hope they do not repeat the story of Tahiti in 2013 Confederations Cup.