Top 10 footballers who have scored at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FIFA World Cup
We are little more than a month away from the biggest footballing event to be held in India- the FIFA U-17 World Cup. In 39 days, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi will be jam-packed where the first two matches of the tournament will take place, first between Colombia and Ghana and between India and USA.
This tournament will see tomorrow’s superstars showcase their talent at the world stage. Since its inception in 1991, the FIFA U-17 World Cup has seen numerous players who have gone on to play for their respective senior national teams and also play and score at the FIFA World Cup. Here are 10 footballers who have scored at both the FIFA U-17 World Cups as well as in the FIFA World Cup
Honorable Mentions: Granit Xhaka, Wilson Oruma and Harry Kewell
#10 Haris Seferovic
Currently at Benfica with 3 goals in 4 league games, Haris Seferovic has appeared for Switzerland 38 times, scoring 8 goals. Seferovic first played for the Switzerland U-17 team at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria. The former Fiorentina star was the joint top goal-scorer of the tournament with 5 goals, having scored two goals in an exciting 4-3 group win over Japan and scored in every knockout game except the quarter-finals. He scored the 63rd minute winner for Switzerland against hosts Nigeria in the final.
The forward later made his senior debut for Switzerland in 2013 and was selected in their squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He came on as a 75th minute substitute for Josip Drmic in Switzerland’s opening match of the tournament against Ecuador and went on to score the injury-time winner which helped Switzerland beat the South Americans 2-1.
#9 Hidetoshi Nakata
One of the greatest Asian footballers of all-time and the finest footballer to have come out of Japan, Hidetoshi Nakata played for Japan’s youth teams in the early '90s and featured during the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup in his homeland where he started in two out of Japan’s three group games as they qualified for the quarter-finals ahead of Mexico and Italy.
In the quarter-finals, Japan faced Nigeria. The Nigerians were 2-0 up thanks to goals from Wilson Oruma (who would be the top goal-scorer at the tournament and score at the 1998 World Cup) and Festus Odini. Nakata found the net in the 56th minute to keep the hosts’ hopes alive but that goal would be a consolation as Nigeria ran out 2-1 winners and would go on to win the tournament after beating Ghana in the final.
Five years later, Nakata would play in his maiden FIFA World Cup in 1998 aged 21 after helping Japan qualify for their first FIFA World Cup by scoring 5 goals in the qualifiers. Nakata played all of Japan’s group games as they were knocked out in the first round.
Nakata played his second World Cup in 2002 which was co-hosted by Japan and scored Japan’s second goal against Tunisia which confirmed their qualification to the knockout stages. After the conclusion of the tournament, the former Roma midfielder was named in the 7-man reserve team of the tournament.
Nakata would also feature at the 2006 World Cup where he was named the Man of the Match in Japan’s 0-0 draw against Croatia. Following Japan’s elimination, he announced his retirement from international football at the age of 29 with 77 appearances and 11 goals to his name.