A ‘new tournament’ gets underway

In the days leading up to the knockout stage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015, several coaches have expressed the view that “a new tournament starts here”. As eight teams head home after the group stage, a further 16 sides continue their bids for the title. On the opening day of Round of 16 matches on Wednesday 28 October, several footballing heavyweights will battle it out for a place in the quarter-finals.

Match of the day Mexico-Chile, 28 October, 20.00 local time This game between the hosts and the 2013 runners-up looks set to be a fascinating encounter. El Tri emerged unbeaten from the group stages with two wins and a draw under their belts, even managing to sweep aside a Germany side that had already recorded two dominant victories. By contrast Chile almost suffered an early exit after a stalemate with Croatia and a bitter 5-1 defeat at the hands of holders Nigeria before securing their spot in the Round of 16 as one of the best third-place finishers thanks to a 4-1 win over USA.

The other matches If past form is anything to go by, four-time champions Nigeria should be relaxed going into their duel with Australia. The Golden Eaglets have won all five of the two teams’ previous meetings at FIFA U-17 World Cups, scoring 12 goals along the way while conceding just two. Nigeria defeated the Joeys 2-1 when the two sides last faced each other in 2003.

New Zealand will have similarly bad memories of playing Brazil, with the only previous FIFA U-17 World Cup fixture between these two teams ending in a 7-0 thrashing for the Kiwis back in 2007. The Oceanians only qualified for the knockout stages with a last-gasp goal against Paraguay, much to the dismay of the Albirroja, who were eliminated by the 2-1 loss. Meanwhile, A Seleção are firmly back on track after defeat by Korea Republic in their opening game.

The two lowest-scoring qualifiers from the group stage are pitted against each other in the day’s fourth Round of 16 match, with Belgium and Korea Republic each only finding the target twice during their opening three games. Nevertheless, the Taeguk Warriors’ formidable defence means they arrive in the last 16 as group winners, having kept clean sheets in each of their matches so far.**

Player to watch Victor Osimhen (Nigeria) The striker’s four goals and one assist make him the highest scoring player in the group stages. If he does go on to collect the adidas Golden Boot, he will become the third Nigerian to be named top goalscorer at a FIFA U-17 World Cup after Macauley Chrisantus in 2007 and Wilson Oruma back in 1993 if he does, bringing the Golden Eaglets level with Spain’s tally of three previous Golden Boot winners in this competition (Borja in 2009, Cesc Fabregas in 2003 and David in 1997).

The stat 9 – Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico have lifted a combined total of nine trophies in the 15 U-17 World Cups that have been held since 1985, with five of the previous six editions of the tournament being won by one of the trio.

The words "Although it will certainly be a tough match, getting the chance to play against a team like Brazil might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s an important part of the footballing learning curve for my lads. This won’t be the end of the road for them by any means; instead it will be another step towards becoming professionals one day and playing for the All Whites." Danny Hay, New Zealand coach

Match schedule Round of 16 Brazil-New Zealand (17.00) Mexico-Chile (17.00) Nigeria-Australia (20.00) Korea Republic-Belgium (20.00)

(All times local)