The 335 players set to contest the fourth edition of the FIFA U-20 Women's' World Cup are already on Chilean soil, ready and waiting for 19 November's big kick-off. This year's event promises to offer thrills aplenty as a host of contenders battle for the crown currently held by Korea DPR.
For the reigning champions, Chun Hui, Ra Un Sim, Ri Jong Sim and Ri Un Hyang are all still in the squad that won the world U-20 title in Russia two years ago, while Germany's Carolin Schiewe is a veteran of her side's success at Thailand 2004. Brazil, for their part, have Erika and Francielle, part of the Auriverde squad that took silver at the Women's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008. They are not alone in boasting Olympic experience, with 25 further players having taken part in this August's showpiece event while 13 of these internationals travelled to the previous year's FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007.
Schiewe, Erika, Canada's Erin McNulty, Weng Xinzhi of China and Nigerian duo Rita Chikwelu and Ulunma Jerome all know this competition inside out: Chile 2008 will be their third consecutive trip to a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Given all the experience on show, there is little doubt that fans in Chile will not be lacking for entertainment value nor star names once the competition gets underway.
With the notable exception of the United States, who have opted for a 20-player squad, the participating nations all have 21-player parties. On the age front, New Zealand will be tackling the task ahead with a particularly young squad. Bridgette Armstrong, Caitlin Campbell, Victoria Esson, Briony Fisher, Annalie Longo, Sarah McLaughlin, Hannah Wall and Charlotte Wood all represented the host nation at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup New Zealand 2008, as did Rosie White, the youngest member of the Kiwi contingent here in Chile and hat-trick heroine in her country's first ever victory at a FIFA women's event. Nigerian trio Marbel Egwenu, Ebere Orji and Helen Ukaonu were also at the recently culminated competition in Oceania.
None of these up-and-coming performers has the distinction of being the youngest player selected for Chile 2008, however. That honour goes to Mexico's Cecilia Santiago, who turned 14 on 10 October 2008. On the other end of the spectrum is the competition's oldest player, Rachel Williams of England, who blew out 20 candles on 10 January this year. Our final stop on the trivia trail must go to Japan's towering goalkeeper Erina Yamane - the tallest player at Chile 2008. Not yet 18 years of age, Yamane already measures in at an imposing 1.87m (6ft 1").
These are just some of curious stats surrounding the players bidding to come away from South America with a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup-winners' medal in their suitcase. Rest assured, once the ball starts rolling, we will bring you up-to-the-minute news and updates of all the action and incident. And in the meantime, why not sample the flavour of the competition ahead by browsing the stories and profiles already available on the Chile 2008 section of FIFA.com, your site for the best of the beautiful game.