The U-17 World Cup in numbers

The world’s top young talents are descending on Chile for the 16th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with dozens of goals, hundreds of dribbles and committed tackles, thousands of spectators and millions of fans all playing their part in the action.

As the countdown continues to the first games in South America, grabs our abacus to look over a few of the standout statistics and fascinating figures from previous editions, as well as the event to come.

172 goals were scored in the previous tournament, UAE 2013, a record high for the U-17 World Cup. That record was achieved in 52 games, meaning an average of 3.31 goals per game, bettered only by Japan 1993 (3.34), Peru 2005 (3.47) as well as the record goals per game scored at Egypt 1997 and Finland 2003 (3.66).

1708 goals have been scored in the history of the tournament, with Chidera Ezeh of Nigeria notching the 1700th strike in the UAE 2013 semi-final, 10,324 days after Brazilian Bismarck scored the very first goal of China PR 1985.

2.34 points per game (three points for a win, one for a draw) is the record-high that holders Nigeria can boast throughout the history of the U-17 World Cup. Their 40 wins, 11 draws and five defeats means they top the all-time ‘league table’ for the tournament with Ghana (2.12 points per game) and Brazil (2.04 points per game) in second and third behind them.

2000 is the year in which Mali’s Mamady Diarra, who plays for Yeelen in his home country, was born, making him the first player to be named in a squad for a men’s World Cup tournament (U-17, U-20 or senior), who was born after the turn of the millennium.

55 centimetres is the difference in height between the shortest and tallest player at Chile 2015. Guinea midfielder Karim Conte stands 140cm tall, with New Zealand defender Hunter Ashworth towering above him at 195cm. Only 12 players at last year’s senior World Cup stood taller than the Kiwi.

16 years, 11 months and ten days will be the average age of the Nigeria squad when the tournament kicks off on Saturday 17 October, the youngest at Chile 2015. Emanuel Amuneke will be hoping his young charges continue the good progress made by Manu Garba’s champions from 2013, with 12 out of the 21 in their UAE 2013 squad featuring at the FIFA U-20 World Cup earlier this year in New Zealand.

6 games without scoring, the longest drought in the competition’s history, is the unwanted run that New Zealand will be hoping to end in Chile. The Kiwis went goalless in the UAE last time out, with their last strike on the global U-17 stage coming 543 minutes of play ago against Uzbekistan in the Mexico 2011 group stages.

1 team, South Africa, will be making their debut at a U-17 World Cup in Chile. Syria and Belgium return for their second appearance after both debuting at Korea Republic 2007, while USA and Brazil make a record-continuing 15th appearance at the global U-17 finals.

1298 km, as the crow flies, is the distance between Estadio La Portada in La Serena and Estadio Chinquihue in Puerto Montt the northernmost and southernmost venues at Chile 2015. Eight venues will be used for the first time at U-17 level since the 2009 finals in Nigeria, and two of the stadiums (Estadio Nacional in Santiago and Vina Del Mar’s Estadio Sausalito) that will host games in Chile were also venues for the 1962 FIFA World Cup™.

11 players have gone on to win the World Cup after featuring at the U-17 edition, with Toni Kroos (who appeared at Korea Republic 2007) and Mario Gotze (Nigeria 2009) joining the list after their victory in Brazil last year. The nine other world champions are Frenchman Emmanuel Petit, Brazil’s Ronaldinho, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro Del Piero and Francesco Totti and Spain’s Iker Casillas, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Xavi. Will any of Chile 2015’s stars lift the famous trophy in years to come?