Football fanatics across the globe can expect thrills and spills aplenty when the 15th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks off this week, with dozens of goals, hundreds of piercing dribbles and committed tackles, thousands of spectators and millions of fans all playing their part in the action.
As the clock winds down on the opening exchanges in this sun-soaked Gulf state, FIFA.com digs out our calculator to looks over a few interesting facts and figures from previous editions, as well as the event to come.
million-plus fans turned up two years ago in Mexico as the host nation hoisted their second U-17 title. The final at the Estadio Azteca, venue of two senior World Cup finals and some of international football’s most iconic moments, drew no fewer than 98,943 fans.
goals have hit the back of the net at the 14 previous U-17 World Cups. The last one was scored by Mexico’s Giovani Casillas in the dying moments of the 2-0 final win over Uruguay. It was a goal that launched more than a few cups of beer into the humid Mexico City air.
is the number of games Brazil have won in 13 FIFA U-17 World Cup tournaments, a record among all nations. It’s no wonder then that the South American giants have won three titles and previously reached the final on three consecutive occasions (1995, 1997 and 1999)
goals were scored by third-place finishers Germany at Mexico 2011, with seven different players getting in on the action. No team has ever scored more times at a single tournament than that particular crop of Germans, who averaged a staggering 3.4 goals per game.
was the age (barely) of current Croatia sensation Alen Halilovic when he put pen to paper on a professional contract with Dinamo Zagreb. He went on to become the youngest-ever player to appear, and score, in a Croatian top flight game. He’s also the youngest player to represent Croatia’s senior national team. Understandably, the rest of the teams in Fujairah will want to keep an eye on this star-in-the-making.
players in Morocco’s 23-man squad ply their club trade abroad, the most of any of the 24 competing nations at UAE 2013.
is the supposedly unlucky number that haunts Canada. It stands as the longest streak of consecutive losses in tournament history. Coach Sean Fleming – back for his second U-17 finals as Canuck coach – hopes the unwanted run will end here in UAE. The North Americans earned their first draws two years ago in Mexico against Rwanda and an England side boasting Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling, but a first win still eludes.
teams will make their U-17 World Cup debuts at UAE 2013: Iraq, Morocco, Slovakia, Sweden and Venezuela. Only the Soviet Union (1987) and Switzerland (2009) have won the tournament when playing in it for the first time.
will be the number of times an Asian nation hosts the FIFA U-17 World Cup once hostilities commence in UAE. The first edition of the junior showpiece took place in China in 1985, then it went to neighbours Japan in 1993. Korea Republic hosted in 2007. Asia’s four stints as host are a record among the continents, with Europe and CONCACAF both having had the honour on three occasions.
set of twins will line up at the 2013 U-17 World Cup. Swedish sibling duo Sebastian and Johan Ramhorn both play in defence for the Scandinavian first-timers. But Panama also have a twin on their bench in Jorge Dely Valdes, whose doppelganger Julio coaches the senior Canaleros. When the two were team-mates with the national team they famously played regular tricks on their team-mates, who were none the wiser.