Category: 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup

Football takes over on and off the pitch at India 2017

NEW DELHI: ‘Football Takes Over’ was one of the slogans of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, and the tournament certainly captured the imagination of the nation’s fans.

A total of 1,347,133 spectators flocked to the stadiums, with an average of 25,906 spectators per match, making this the best attended FIFA U-17 World Cup in the tournament’s 33-year history.

The buzz and excitement surrounding India 2017 was not limited to the six stadiums, however.

According to Sony India, the host nation’s FIFA U-17 World Cup opener with USA attracted an audience of 1.8m viewers, while the highest single programme audience for live coverage was 1.1m on SONY Ten 2 when India faced Colombia.

“The fact that it became as big as it did surprised even us,” said Joy Bhattacharjya, Project Director for the Local Organising Committee (LOC), speaking before the final matchday of India 2017.

“If you look at the newspapers, cricket was third news on the sports pages after the semi-finals. The Brazil-England match led it, then after that, it was the Spain-Mali encounter. You cannot believe what a change that is in India. Also, to see 50,000 people in New Delhi and actually cheering for a team after they’ve lost, that kind of sporting spirit has not been seen in India before.”

Sony India aired 879 hours of dedicated coverage across three channels: Sony ESPN, Sony Ten 2 and Sony Ten 3. This consisted of 241 hours of live coverage, 334 hours of repeat coverage and 304 hours of highlights.

A staggering 71,601,000 viewers watched at least one minute of India 2017 coverage, while the three matches that featured the Indian national team averaged a live match audience of 1,661,000 viewers.

PM Meets India U-17 Team In New Delhi

New Delhi: The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, met the Indian Team that participated in the recently concluded FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in New Delhi on Friday.

The India U-17 team who represented the nation in a FIFA World Cup for the first time in Indian Sports history were invited by Prime Minister after they came back from Saudi Arabia following the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers.

“I personally requested for this meeting as I saw some spark in all of you. Based on your performance people have started knowing you so there is a huge responsibility on your shoulders.” Modi said

During the interaction, the players talked about the experience and exposure that they gained during FIFA U-17 World Cup, both on and off the field.

The Prime Minister encouraged the players to not feel disappointed with the outcome of the tournament, but to treat it as a learning opportunity. He said competing with enthusiasm and spirit is the first step to success.

The Prime Minister said India can achieve a lot in football. He also mentioned that sports helps in developing personality, building confidence, and in overall development.

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, was present on the occasion.

FIFA president praises India for successful hosting of U-17 World Cup 2017

NEW DELHI: FIFA President Gianni Infantino lavished huge praise for India for successfully hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and expressed that “FIFA delegations has returned to Zurich with a host of unforgettable memories and having made many warm-hearted new friendships during our stay’ in India.

In the letter of gratitude shared with none but Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India, Infantino mentioned: “The FIFA delegation has now returned to Zurich with a host of unforgettable memories and having made many warm-hearted new friendships during our stay in Kolkata for the final matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and the FIFA Council Meeting.”

“Herewith, I would like to congratulate your government on its role in your country’s successful hosting of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and express my gratitude towards the Local Organising Committee, to your government, and to all those who worked so hard to organise this competition in the host cities of New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati and Kolkata. They all contributed immensely to a wonderful and memorable event”, as quoted by the FIFA President in the letter.

Meanwhile, the FIFA president regretted that he couldn’t attend the opening ceremony and meet Modi but he mentioned that he’ll look forward to meeting him in future to exchange ideas about “the approaches to developing football” in India.

“Unfortunately, much to my regret, I was not able to attend the Opening Ceremony of the competition and to meet you in person in New Delhi, due to other prior commitments.”

“I am however convinced we will have the opportunity to meet in the future to exchange ideas about the approaches to developing football in your country, as well as our visions on the important role that football plays in breaking down cultural and social barriers, making it a game accessible to everyone.”

Infantino minced no word praising All India Football Federation for its “remarkable work and efforts” akin to Mission 11 Million and the AIFF National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata.

“Herewith, I also would like to praise the remarkable work and efforts of the All India Football Federation to implement new plans for the development of our sport in your country, such as the Mission 11 Million and the construction of the AIFF National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata. I would like to reiterate my thanks for your contribution towards supporting football development and promoting the values of our sport in your country”, he added.

Infantino, on this letter, assured that FIFA and the international football community will provide assistance “that could be helpful in realisation of these developmental projects”.

“I can assure you that our stay in your country has given me fresh determination to provide any assistance from FIFA and the international football community that could be helpful in the realisation of these developmental projects.”

FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in numbers

The FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 came to a fitting conclusion with a match that encapsulated the high quality of the event and the attacking prowess of the teams involved. England, the tournament’s top scorers, ran out worthy winners against a Spain side that let slip a 2-0 lead and found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-2 score-line, losing their fourth U-17 World Cup final in the process.

The Three Lions got their hands on the silverware, as was the case at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic this June, when an England youth team also took the title. Enjoy some of the main stats from the tournament.

1.35 1,347,133 spectators watched this year’s tournament, making it the best attended FIFA U-17 World Cup and finally breaking the record set by the inaugural event, held in China PR in 1985 (1.23 million fans). An average of 25,906 spectators per match flocked to the stadiums in India.

2 After winning the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017, England have now added the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 to their trophy cabinet. The only previous country to achieve this double was Brazil back in 2003.

3 The final between England and Spain was the third between two teams from the same confederation and the first between European opponents. Nigeria defeated Ghana 2-1 in 1993 and Mali 2-0 in 2015.

4 After losing their opening match to Brazil, Spain righted the ship and then proceeded to sweep all before them with their sparkling attacking play. But the old adage that defence wins championships was proven, to the chagrin of the Spanish team who fell at the final hurdle for the fourth time in an U-17 World Cup final.

5 Referees were forced to pull out a red card on no fewer than five occasions, along with 141 yellow cards.

6 Sometimes things don’t go plan. And in India, no fewer than six players put the ball in their own net.

7 Seven goals in this year’s tournament decider made it the highest-scoring final in the competition’s history. In the 17 previous finals, only 42 goals had been scored, at an average of 2.47 per final.

8 Winners England certainly knew where the goal was in each of their seven matches at India 2017. They found the back of the net on 23 occasions, with Rhian Brewster notching eight of them, earning him the adidas Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer.

99 It took Paraguay’s Alan Rodriguez just 99 seconds to give his team the lead against New Zealand and record the fastest goal of the tournament.

183 Never before had an U-17 World Cup seen as many goals as India 2017 – 183 in 52 matches in fact, at an average of 3.52 per game. The only tournaments with a higher average were Egypt 1997 and Finland 2003, each with 3.66 per match.

Credits: FIFA

‘Super Proud’ Cooper Hails Young Lions’ Courage

KOLKATA: England coach Steve Cooper expressed his immense pride in his players after they claimed their first FIFA U-17 World Cup title with a 5-2 victory over Spain after going down by two goals in Saturday’s FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 final at Kolkata.

Sergio Gomez gave the La Rojita a 2-0 lead at the half hour mark, before the Young Lions scripted one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of FIFA U-17 World Cup thanks to a Phil Foden brace along with a goal each from Rhian Brewster, Morgan Gibbs-White and Marc Guehi as England exorcised the demons of U-17 European Championship final where they lost to the same opponent on penalties.

“I am super proud of everyone the players, the staff and everyone. I couldn’t be happier. It was a different kind of game tonight, it was tough, it was a final and you have to grind it out and no one knows better than me it never goes to script. There’s always twists but the courage the players showed tonight was enormous,” said Cooper.

“My only concern was that because we conceded twice within the first 30 minutes, the boys would be so heartbroken they couldn’t pick themselves up for the remainder, but I knew we would finish stronger. It was just a matter of taking our chance when it came, and we did, and like I said: I’m super proud of them.”

Rhian Brewster claims Golden Boot Award

KOLKATA: England marksman Rhian Brewster claimed the Golden Boot Award at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 after the Liverpool FC striker netted eight goals in seven games for the champions.

Brewster, 17, netted a first half header as England thump Spain 5-2 after rallying from two goals down to claim their maiden U-17 World Cup in Kolkata.

And with Spain’s Abel Ruiz and Mali’s Lassana N’diyae was unable to add to their six goal tally in Saturday’s final and third place play-off against England and Brazil respectively, Brewster finished two goals clear at the top of the chart.

“Scoring just before half-time was key to making it 2-1 because whoever scored the next goal was a bit crucial,” Brewster said after the final. “I was happy to score my eighth goal of the tournament and win 5-2.”

Brewster opened his account with a free-kick goal against Mexico after a rather quiet opening encounter against Chile. Though the Chadwell Heath-born was unable to find the target in Young Lions’ in next two games with Iraq and Japan but returned to the score-sheet with successive hat-tricks in quarterfinal and semifinal against the USA and Brazil.

“At the beginning, I scored one in four games, so to win the Golden Boot and score a couple of hat-tricks, it is an amazing feeling. “I enjoyed every moment of this tournament. It’s been a great month.” Brewster added.

“Rhian performed very well in this tournament and scored many nice goals. He deserves to be top scorer in the competition.” England coach Steve Cooper said.


Golden Ball ‘the icing on the cake’ for livewire Foden

KOLKATA: Phil Foden emerged as the star of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 017 as the Young Lions midfielder not only found the back of the net twice in the final as England secured the first ever U-17 World Cup title, but also won the Golden Ball Award presented.

The Manchester City midfielder scored thrice over the duration of the tournament, including a brace against Spain in the championship match, as he marked an incredible rise on the international stage with several eye-catching displays.

It has been a remarkable rise for a player who has made a big impression during Manchester City’s pre-season tour of United States.

Manchester City played city rivals Manchester United in July at Texas, though Manchester United won the game 2-0 but the 17-year-old did enough to impress everyone including coach Pep Guardiola.

“It’s been a good one, obviously expectations for myself weren’t as much as I got but that’s the way it goes,” Foden. “I’m so thankful for what has happened at this tournament and all the boys did really well.”

“There were almost 70000 people in the stadium and the atmosphere was unbelievable. For me to be a part of it, part of the silverware that we got, is special and to get a couple of goals is even more special, it’s like a dream.”

Foden’s 69th minute goal gave the Young Lions the lead in the final before his goal in the 88th minute ended any hopes of a Spanish comeback.

“It was a great ball from Callum (Hudson-Odoi), and I was just hovering in the pocket,” he said about his first goal which was arguably the goal of the tournament. “The ball was nice, my first touch opened up straight away.”

“I looked like I was running at the centre-backs but all I had in my mind was to shoot. The boys were saying it bobbled up a bit, but I caught it sweetly and all I saw was it hit the back of the net.”

“I was in the best position to shoot and I don’t want to give up that opportunity. When I see the centre-backs going back I just want to take it, and it went in so I was happy,” he signed off.

He will now return to Manchester City, with speculation rampant he will move to bigger and better things in the near future.

Brazao, Brewster and Foden lead individual honours

KOLKATA: England lifted a World Cup trophy for the second time in the same year after beating Spain 5-2 in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. However, it wasn’t the only silverware won by an Englishman on the night.

Golden Ball: Phil Foden (England) – 7 games (3 goals, 1 assist)
Dominic Solanke’s improved game by game in India. The play-maker scored his forst goal of the competition in England’s 3-2 win over Mexico in Group F before notching a brace against final en route to eventually helping his nation lift the trophy in Kolkata. Foden’s lung-bursting runs and incisive eye for goal were just two of many attributes that contributed greatly to England’s success.

Silver Ball: Sergio Gomez (Spain) – 7 games (4 goals, 2 assists)
The left-footed maestro was on course to be the match-winner after netting a first-half brace in the final, only for La Rojita to eventually surrender their 2-0 lead. Spain’s No10 oozed creativity throughout the competition, however, making a habit of playing the perfect pass through the lines of opposing defences. Able to read and judge situations innately, his understanding of the game was remarkable for a player his age and he also displayed a knack for shooting from range.

Bronze Ball: Rhian Brewster (England) – 6 games (8 goals, 1 assist)
Agile. Dynamic. Ruthless – perhaps the three best words to describe the Englishman, who saved his best displays for the knockout rounds. Brewster scored just once in his first four appearances but almost singlehandedly fired England all the way to the final with hat-tricks against USA and Brazil in respective 4-1 and 3-1 victories. The 17-year-old was a menace all over the pitch but especially came alive in the penalty area. He waited patiently for his chances and, using his speed to his advantage, was able to get the better of defenders again and again. The Liverpool youngster knew exactly where to be in the box and displayed remarkable composure in front of goal.

Golden Boot: Rhian Brewster (England) – 7 games (8 goals)
Brewster opened his account with a free-kick goal against Mexico after a rather quiet opening encounter against Chile. Though the Chadwell Heath-born was unable to find the target in Young Lions’ in next two games with Iraq and Japan but returned to the score-sheet with successive hat-tricks in quarterfinal and semifinal against the USA and Brazil. “At the beginning, I scored one in four games, so to win the Golden Boot and score a couple of hat-tricks, it is an amazing feeling. “I enjoyed every moment of this tournament. It’s been a great month.” Brewster said.

Silver Boot: Lassana N’Diaye (Mali) – 7 games (6 goals)
Mali ended the tournament as the side with the most shots on goal – 184 – a statistic that owes much to N’Diaye’s presence in the Eaglets’ attack. “Since I was a kid, I always scored a lot of goals on the street and at our academy,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s always fun to score goals. It’s why I play football – to do exactly that.” Extremely difficult to stop one on one and never afraid to shoot, N’Diaye was the CAF Africa Cup of Nations winners’ most potent attacking weapon.

Bronze Boot: Abel Ruiz (Spain) – 7 games (6 goals)
Spain’s captain and all-action centre forward was also a team player above all. His ability to hold the ball up with his back to goal made him a vital outlet for his team-mates, but just as eye-catching was his positional awareness in the final third. His passes set up chances for other players and he scored goals himself, but he also led the entire group on and off the pitch. He took responsibility, and converted, from the penalty spot twice at India 2017, opening the scoring with one of those spot-kicks to put Spain into the lead against Mali in the semi-final.

Golden Glove: Gabriel Brazao (Brazil)
For the fifth time, the best goalkeeper of the U-17 World Cup was recognised with the Golden Glove award. After Benjamin Siegrist (Switzerland, 2009), Jonathan Cubero (Uruguay, 2011), Dele Alampasu (Nigeria, 2013) and Samuel Diarra (Mali, 2015), India 2017’s hero between the sticks was Gabriel Brazao. The Brazil custodian made 29 saves and kept out an average of 85.3 per cent of shots on his goal in the tournament, higher than any other goalkeeper. On a number of occasions he pulled off stupendous saves to thwart opposing strikers, showcasing his superb reflexes and impressive command of his penalty area. He also conceded just five goals in seven matches.

FIFA Fair Play Award: Brazil
After the final ball was kicked, Brazil were able to enjoy the consolation of ending their campaign with a win. They overcame Mali 2-0 to win the Play-Off for Third Place, but thanks to their sportsmanship, they also won the hearts of the watching supporters too. The Seleção received just four yellow cards and committed only 62 fouls in their seven matches, making Carlos Amadeu’s side deserving winners of the FIFA Fair Play Award. Alongside the trophy, medals and a certificate, Brazil’s football federation also receives a cheque of $10,000 USD, which will be used exclusively for equipment for youth football.

U-17 World Cup: England thrash Spain to crown Champions


KOLKATA: England defeated Spain 5-2 in the final to crown champions in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in front of 66,684 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.

The English came from two goals down to claim victory, securing their first world title at this age group level, and revenge over the Spanish for a loss in the final of the U-17 European Championships earlier this year.

Spain enjoyed a strong start to the game and had a two-goal lead within 31 minutes, as Sergio Gomez twice struck from assists by the excellent Cesar Gelabert.

However, England brought themselves back into the contest just before half time, with Steven Sessegnon crossing from the right to find Rhian Brewster, who headed home to make it 2-1 at the break and bring up his eighth goal of the tournament.

The English looked dangerous down the flanks in the second half and on 58 minutes they levelled the game at 2-2 when Sessegnon provided another assist for Morgan Gibbs-White to tuck the ball away.

On 69 minutes England claimed the lead for the first time, with a powerful run down the left flank from Callum Hudson-Odoi allowing one of the players of the tournament, Phil Foden, to put his side 3-2 up.

And the Spanish challenge was killed off in the 84th minute when a set piece saw defender Marc Guehi to score his first goal for the national team and bring the score to 4-2.

Four minutes later the young Three Lions put the cherry on top when Hudson-Odoi played a great pass over the defence to see Foden fire home the fifth on a swift counter attack. England’s win follows the U-20’s success at Korea Republic 2017 earlier this year.


Better team lost claim Mali coach

KOLKATA: Mali coach Jonas Kokou Komla claimed that his side had been the better team despite losing 2-0 to Brazil in FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 third place play-off at Kolkata on Saturday.

“It was not the best team that won. I can’t reproach the players for anything. We had a good few chances that we didn’t take,” said Komla.

“I want to highlight the players’ bravery and battling spirit,” he said. “We are pleased with their performance, and in particular, with the effort and character they showed throughout the match. It was very important to us that our players produce a response against a team like Brazil. They did just that, so we can be happy with what the team have done at the tournament.”

A goalless first half saw the African champions show more urgency and intent to break the deadlock with efforts from Boubacar Haidara, captain Mohamed Camara, and Salam Jiddou. Despite Mali’s best efforts they were unable to get on the score-sheet with Alan and Yuri Alberto punished them scoring a goal each in the second session.

“The whole team deserved this award today. We put in an intelligent display against tough opposition. That’s the way you have to play in all-or-nothing encounters like this one. We’ll go home with our heads held high, but with a sour taste in our mouths because I think we deserved better and should’ve finished third.” Komla singed off.