The 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup saw India earn the benchmark of the most attended FIFA U17 World Cup ever. The tournament recorded phenomenal 1,347,133 total attendance with almost 26,000 average spectators per game.
Before yesterday's third-place match between Brazil and Mali, only 6,949 more people were required at the stadium to break the record of 1,230,976 set in the first edition of the FIFA U17 World Cup in China in 1985. But the match witnessed 56,432 spectators cheering at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata and the U17 World Cup attendance record was easily beaten.
Brazil beat Mali 2-0 in the match and secured third place in the tournament. Even though they settled for third place this time, they still remain the only Latin American team to have ever won the tournament.
On the other hand, the most anticipated final between England and Spain recorded a capacity crowd of 66,684 making India 2017 even surpass the record of FIFA U20 World Cup's top attendance of 1,309,929 which was set in 2011 in Colombia.
England registered a thumping 5-2 victory over Spain after being two goals down at one stage to win their first-ever FIFA U17 World Cup, thereby taking a revenge against the Spaniards to whom the Young Lions lost when the two teams last met in the 2017 UEFA U17 Championship final.
Furthermore, the tournament managed to eclipse the total attendance figures of 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, widely considered to be the biggest sporting event in the Indian subcontinent. 1,229,826 was the total attendance for the event with 25,098 average per game, while the total numbers for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup read a cool 1,347,133.
All these records and stats are well evident that India is a place where the most followed game in the world, football can also thrive. Especially, Kolkata again proved that why they called as Mecca of Indian football. These figures will give the AIFF a ray of hope as it has already submitted India's bid for hosting 2019 U20 World Cup. The successful hosting of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 will certainly be India's pillar of strength in the bid evaluation process.