On Friday, the 17th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup will kick off, with hosts India making their historic debut in a FIFA competition when they take on USA in New Delhi. The highly anticipated contest will follow the Group A opener between Colombia and two-time champions Ghana.
The opening day also sees action from Group B, as New Zealand take on Turkey, while Chile 2015 runners-up Mali meet Paraguay in Navi Mumbai.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Colombia – Ghana (17.00)
India – USA (20.00)
Dr. DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
New Zealand – Turkey (17.00)
Paraguay – Mali (20.00)
(all times local)
What you need to know
1-It is sure to be a special moment in Indian football and sporting history, as the hosts take to the pitch at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for their opening match versus USA. The Stars and Stripes, who are making a record-sharing 16th appearance at a U-17 World Cup, will provide tough opposition for Luis Norton de Matos’s side.
2-When Colombia meet Ghana in the Group A opener, it will mark a return to this competition after a long absence for both sides. The South Americans last appeared in this tournament at Nigeria 2009, while it has been a decade since the Ghanaians last played in a global finals at this level after they finished fourth at Korea Republic 2007.
3-Friday’s curtain raiser at Dr. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will be the second time that New Zealand and Turkey have faced each other in the group stage of a U-17 World Cup. At Nigeria 2009, both sides played to a 1-1 draw in Group D.
4 –Paraguay have good memories of playing Mali in this competition. They defeated the West Africans 2-1 in their Group D opener at Trinidad and Tobago 2001.
6 – The number of consecutive appearances that New Zealand will be making at a U-17 World Cup when they take to the pitch in India (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017).
“Just as history shows, a team can defeat stronger opponents with determination. One hundred organised, victory-driven and fearless men can defeat 1,000 enemies. Just as Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will’.”