Saudi Arabia become first Arab winners
At the third edition of the tournament in 1989, Saudi Arabia's solid organisation, excellent discipline and clear game plan proved decisive as they lifted the U-16 world crown for the very first time. To go undefeated throughout the competition and dispose of hosts Scotland in the final spoke volumes for the Saudi team spirit.
Veron stars as Argentina make waves
Juan Sebastian Veron was spotted as Argentina’s rising star at Italy 1991 – the first edition of the tournament with the age limit raised from U-16 to U-17. The playmaker helped La Albiceleste finish third for their first podium finish.
Spain score the most goals ever in an U-17 finals game
The most goal-laden match ever to take place in the FIFA U-17 World Cup was held in Ismailia in 1997, with Spain inflicting maximum damage by crushing New Zealand 13-0. However, other than sealing the adidas Golden Shoe for David, the shower of goals reaped a meagre harvest: Spain were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual runners-up Ghana.
Ronaldinho arrives on the world stage
Ronaldinho first showed the world his potential when he played a key role in Brazil’s first 1997 triumph. The young Brazilian’s first goal of the tournament was a penalty against Austria in the first group match, which Brazil eventually won a by a staggering margin of 7–0. Ronaldinho finished the competition with two goals and went on to win the FIFA World Cup™ in 2002.
Cesc Fabregas monopolises individual awards
The Spaniard’s launched his career with an inspirational display at Finland 2003. Fabregas finished the tournament as top scorer on five goals and was voted its best player.
Mexico become the first hosts to triumph
Mexico lifted the trophy for the second time since 2005 when they hosted the last edition of the tournament in 2011. In doing so they became the first team to be crowned world U-17 champions as hosts, defeating Uruguay 2–0 in front of a packed stadium of nearly 100,000 fans.
Neymar scores the goal of Nigeria 2009
The forward netted Brazil's second goal on 67 minutes in their curtain-raiser against Japan in Lagos. Brazil defeated Japan 3-2 and then drew against Mexico, but lost to Switzerland 1-0 at the Abuja National Stadium in Group B and failed to advance past the group stage. Nevertheless, Neymar shone and went on to set world football alight with his trademark Brazilian skill.