FIFA U-17 World Cup record
Despite a strong tradition of qualifying for global finals in the senior and U-20 editions, England only reached their inaugural FIFA U-17 World Cup a decade ago, with India 2017 representing the Young Lions’ fourth outing on the global stage at this age level. Their debut at Korea 2007 saw a side including Danny Welbeck reach the quarter-finals where they were well beaten by Germany. At Mexico 2011, the Germans once more dispatched their English counterparts, who had Raheem Sterling amongst their number. Last time out, at Chile 2015, Neil Dewsnip’s side failed to reach the knockout stages.
Road to India
England headed into the 2017 UEFA U-17 European Championship finals full of confidence, thanks to a 100 per cent record in both the qualifying round and elite round. The Young Lions’ self-assuredness was fully justified as they missed out on the title at Croatia 2017 by a matter of seconds, due to a dramatic final against Spain. Having reached India 2017 by seeing off British Isles rivals Republic of Ireland in the quarter-final, and reaching the continental finale by defeating Turkey, Nacho Diaz’s equaliser in the sixth minute of stoppage time saw the final go to a penalty shootout. The Spaniards converted all four of their spot kicks to emerge victorious, with England only able to net a sole penalty in reply.
After coaching varying youth sides at Liverpool before working his way up to the role of academy manager at the club, Steve Cooper took on the role of England U-16 coach in 2014 before graduating to the U-17 side a year later. The Welshman assumed full control of the U-17s after Dewsnip, who guided the Young Lions on an interim basis at Chile 2015, continued his work with the U-18s full time.
“We’ve qualified for the World Cup in India, which was one of the objectives of the tournament,” Cooper said after his side’s U-17 UEFA EURO final defeat to Spain. “We’ll continue with our work, everything that we do with the national teams is with the long term in mind.”
11 - matches won on the bounce by England throughout UEFA U-17 European Championship qualifying, elite rounds and the finals themselves before the 2-2 draw in the final against Spain, which preceded their penalty shootout heartbreak.