It is rare to find a Brazilian team that is not the pre-tournament favourite, and this FIFA U-17 World Cup is no exception. In our FIFA.com poll, 29.19% of all users said that the rising stars from the land of the Sugar Loaf Mountain will break their own record on September 9 in Seoul by lifting the U-17 trophy for the fourth time in the country's history.
The future generation of Seleção stars is looking a good bet then to banish the bitter memory of defeat in the last U-17 World Cup final against Mexico, two years ago in Peru. Certainly their gifted talisman, Lulinha, wasted little time in expressing great confidence in his teammates in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com (click on the link to read the full-length interview).
However, a closer look at the poll results shows that fans do not believe Korea 2007 will be a walkover for Edgar Pereira's charges. Brazil only narrowly edged out the "other team" option, which garnered 26.35% of the overall vote, and an analysis of the results by individual language shows that only English users (30.66%) see Brazil as top favourites.
While the French page shows up Argentina (27.15%) as the likeliest winners, both German and Spanish users see neither Brazil nor Argentina, Nigeria nor Spain as favourites, opting instead for the "other team" choice. With the German users, it is fair to presume many chose "other team" as a reflection of their firm conviction that the playingmaking genius of Toni Kroos can help lead Germany to their first U-17 World Cup triumph in six attempts.
Intriguingly, the "other team" option came a poor second behind Brazil on the English language page, with 25.19% of the vote, even though both England and the USA have qualified for the global event. What emerges is that neither the Argentinians and the Spanish, both traditionally strong nations at junior level, nor the US, who have looked good in the build-up to the tournament, nor the English who are appearing in an U-17 World Cup for the first time, are seen by their respective countrymen as clear favourites to take the title.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is the fact that for all users Spain rank no higher than fifth in the FIFA.com poll on 10.26%, behind both Argentina (third on 23.60%) and Nigeria (fourth on 10.60%). This despite the presence of Bojan Krkic in the Iberian line-up, a young man tipped by many to be star of the tournament.
Take part in the next poll!
The latest vote at FIFA.com deals with this very question: Which player do you think will impress the most at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007? Make your voice heard as FIFA.com seeks to give the fans a platform to express their views!