Korea 2007: The final countdown
© FIFA.com

The venues are ready, the games are scheduled, and all of the teams have arrived. Everyone here is waiting for the kick-off of the first game between Korea DPR and England at 14:00. Six hours later, the eyes of a nation will turn to the host's youngsters as Korea Republic welcome Peru in Suwon - known as the nation's footballing capital.

As the tournament's official mascot, Shooting Star, signifies, the 504 starlets from the 24 squads will be keen to prove that they are the ones to watch and to become real stars in the years to come.

In order to do so, however, they have to rely on the organisers to make everything go as smoothly as possible off the pitch. Here FIFA.com takes a glance at the final preparations before the finals.

Trio of national supporters
The LOC have been boosted by the latest addition to their list of national supporters. Dongbu Insurance have become the third domestic company on Monday to back the tournament, in order to help the organisers run Korea 2007 without any risk.

Hodo Tour, a travel agent which also took part in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, was the first to sign the contract with the LOC in June, before the Korea Football Association's long-time sponsor, Hana Bank signed-up a month later.

City of lights
The city of Cheonan, which hosts five group games and two second round matches, is preparing for a big festival ahead of the tournament. On the eve of the opening ceremony, the city will hold a light show in front of Cheonan Sports Complex, with tens of giant LED towers and a tunnel-shaped fountain.

Then, after the last group match between Belgium and USA on 26 August, the stadium will be transformed into a special stage to hold a 'Glowfly Concert' from 19:30. With these events, the city is hoping to set up a football festival, which will give fans a great opportunity to experience local culture, and all the glitter the city has to offer.

Chairman reveals ticket boost
The chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Chung Dong-Chea, revealed to FIFA.com that the ticket sales for the tournament are well above what had been previously anticipated.

Indeed, the Korea Republic's games against Peru and Costa Rica at Suwon's 27,100 capacity Sports Complex have already sold out, much to the delight of the organisers.

"Although this is an U-17 competition, this is a FIFA World Cup," said Chung. "We need more affection and interest in youth football, as the players can begin their career here and develop their games to grow into club professionals or internationals in the future.

"On average, more than 50 per cent of the tickets are sold, which is more than our expectations. It's early to reveal the details yet but I can tell you that Suwon is already sold out. The crowds are the key to the success of this tournament."

Time to welcome friends
It is expected that 500 inhabitants of Jeju will boost the numbers still further as plans are afoot to mobilise support for the Korea DPR team's matches against Brazil and England at the venue's FIFA World Cup stadium.

The new fans of the North Koreans have been inspired by the recent agreement between the two countries to hold a summit for the first time since 2000. Indeed, Brazil, England and Korea DPR have been given an extremely warm welcome by the islanders in recent days.

"It was nice - there is obviously a lot of enthusiasm for the event," said England coach John Peacock, who had a wreath of flowers placed around his neck.

"It was good to see a lot of youngsters waving flags to greet us and if I'd have taken all those flowers home and given them to my wife she would have been very pleased," he joked.

Ulsan, where Korea DPR plays their last group game against New Zealand, has just finished remodeling the facilities inside the stadium last month. Now Ulsan Complex Stadium boasts 72 seats in the media tribune as well as four camera platforms for broadcasters.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007 will be broadcast live to 52 countries all over the world on TV, as well as on FIFA.com.