The past
Only Brazil and USA have more FIFA U-17 World Cup appearances than Argentina’s 12. Though they have only failed to make the tournament three times, the last of them in 2005, La Albiceleste have yet to win it or even reach the final. Their best finish to date is third place, achieved in 1991, 1995 and 2003, while they have also taken fourth on two occasions, more recently in 2013.

The present
Argentina began the South American U-17 Championship in disappointing fashion, losing narrowly to Ecuador and Uruguay before hitting back with wins over Bolivia and Chile to finish third in Group B and advance to the final six-team round. They looked on course for the title after beating Brazil and overwhelming hosts Paraguay, but defeat to Uruguay and draws with Ecuador and Colombia meant they had to settle for the runners-up slot.

The future
After conceding four goals in their opening two matches in the continental finals, Miguel Angel Lemme’s side tightened things up at the back, conceding only five in their remaining seven games. The emergence of front-men Tomas Conechny and German Berterame, who started the tournament on the bench, also proved crucial to Argentina’s progress and augurs well for their bid to land the U-17 World Cup for the first time at Chile 2015.

Facts and Figures

Former stars
Fernando Caceres (1985), Fernando Redondo (1985), Roberto Abbondanzieri (1989), Marcelo Gallardo (1991), Juan Veron (1991), Esteban Cambiasso (1995), Pablo Aimar (1995), Gabriel Milito (1997), Javier Mascherano (2001), Carlos Tevez (2001), Pablo Zabaleta (2001), Oscar Ustari (2003), Ezequiel Garay (2003), Lucas Biglia (2003), Fernando Gago (2003).

Key players
Franco Petroli (goalkeeper), Facundo Pardo (defender), Julian Chicco (midfielder), Tomas Conechny (forward) and German Berterame (forward).

The stat
8 - The number of goals Conechny and Berterame scored between them at the South American U-17 Championship. Substitutes in Argentina’s first two matches, the duo accounted for 57 per cent of their side’s 14 goals in the tournament.