There promises to be goals, entertainment and excitement aplenty at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012, as the brightest young stars in the women’s game get set to make their breakthroughs in a country that is backing the competition to the hilt.
The countdown is almost over so, with just one day remaining until the big kick-off, FIFA.com sets the scene by listing some of the most surprising statistics thrown up by this third edition of the tournament, which features 304 teenagers representing 16 nations, all of them vying for the world crown.
- The number of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups Ghana’s Ellen Coleman will have appeared at when her country makes its entrance in the next few days. The 17-year-old defender is the only player to have featured at all three tournaments, following on from New Zealand 2008 and Trinidad and Tobago 2010.
- The number of stadiums that will host the 30 games to be held during the course of the competition. The Lankaran Stadium is situated in the city of the same name, while the five other venues can all be found in the capital Baku.
- The number of teams that have never failed to qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup: 2008 champions Korea DPR, Brazil, Germany, Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, Japan and New Zealand, the hosts four years ago. All eight will hope to put their experience to good effect over the next three weeks, while newcomers Azerbaijan, Uruguay, Gambia and China PR are raring to go.
- The number of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup matches that Japan coach Hiroshi Yoshida has taken charge of. The most experienced coach in the history of the tournament, Yoshida is one of only two tacticians to feature at all three editions, his Canada counterpart Bryan Rosenfeld being the other.
- The average age of the Ghana and Gambia squads, the two youngest in the competition. The Gambians also have the youngest player at Azerbaijan 2012 in their ranks: Sainey Sissohore, who is taking part in her first world finals at the age of only 13 years and nine months.
- The number of birthdays that will be celebrated during the course of the tournament, with no fewer than four Gambia players turning 15 in Odlar Yurdu (the “Land of Fire”, as Azerbaijan is otherwise known): Maria Camara, Mariama Bojam, Isatou Jallow and Binta Colley.
- The height of China PR’s Li Mengyu in centimetres, making her the tallest player on duty at Azerbaijan 2012. The goalkeeper stands some 34 centimetres above the competition’s shortest player: Nigeria forward Mabel Effiom.