Holders and hosts highlight first day

Hosts Chile and the two most successful sides in the history of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Brazil and reigning champions Nigeria, are all in action on the opening day of the competition, in which Santiago’s Estadio Nacional will also play a central part.

The venue for Chile’s recent Copa America triumph, the stadium will stage just two games in the tournament, namely the opening round of matches in Group A, in which the Golden Eaglets take on USA, and the host nation cross swords with Croatia. Meanwhile, England and Guinea will open up proceedings in Group B in Coquimbo before Brazil face off against Korea Republic.

FIFA.com looks ahead to the opening day of Chile 2015.

Match of the day* Chile-Croatia, Santiago, 17 October 2015, 20.00 local time

The hosts could have no better setting for the start of their campaign than the stadium where Chile’s senior side enjoyed their finest hour a little over three months ago. Appearing at their third U-17 World Cup, La Rojita* will attempt to improve on their best ever finish of third, which came in 1997, their last appearance in the competition to date. Opponents Croatia are also contesting their third world finals in the age group, and while they have yet to progress beyond the group phase, they were nothing if not solid in qualifying, conceding just only one goal in five matches.

The other matches England and Guinea will have the honour of contesting the first match of the competition. While the Three Lions are aiming to break new ground in going beyond the last eight, they can expect a stiff test from the Africans, who have previous finals experience and beat title holders Nigeria 3-1 in the qualifiers.

The Golden Eaglets are in action themselves on day one of Chile 2015, and will be keen to atone for their qualifying slip-ups against the Guineans and South Africa and show that they have lost none of the prowess that took them to the 2013 title, when they set a new goalscoring record for the tournament. Up against them will be USA, who are making their return to a competition they missed out on for the one and only time in 15 attempts two years ago.

Three-time winners Brazil, the only other side with 14 competition appearances to their name, face Korea Republic in the day’s final game. The Asian runners-up arrive in Chile in fine fettle after racking up 14 goals in their five qualifying matches. The Brazilians have plenty of firepower of their own in the shape of Leo Santos, who top-scored in the South American U-17 Championship with eight goals in nine outings.

Player to watch* Lee Seungwoo (Korea Republic)*

Many eyes will be on the South Korean No10 in Chile. The player of the tournament at the AFC Asian U-16 Championship, thanks to his haul of five goals and four assists in just five games, the young Barcelona forward is the undisputed leader of the Taeguk Warrior pack and is seen by many as the most gifted player to emerge from Asia in recent years. Nicknamed “The Korean Messi” by the media, the two-footed Seungwoo has vision and technique to go with a devilish change of pace, mazy dribbling skills and a keen eye for goal.

The stat 1 - The position occupied by Brazil in the tournament’s historical ranking, ahead of four-time world champions Nigeria. A Seleção have played 70 games in the competition, more than anyone else, and in addition to having won it on three occasions (1997, 1999 and 2003), they have graced every single tournament to date, with the exception of Japan 1993.

The words “The players all have their own personal goals, but they have to understand that things will go better for them if they all aim to perform as a team at the World Cup. The most important thing is that they focus and stay true to who they are without being individualistic. The priority has to be winning trophies for the country,” Nigeria coach and former Super Eagles international Emmanuel Amuneke.

Matchday 1 fixtures (All times local) *Group A *Nigeria-USA (Estadio Nacional, Santiago, 17:00) Chile-Croatia (Estadio Nacional, Santiago, 20:00)

Group B England-Guinea (Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso, Coquimbo, 16:00) Brazil-Korea Republic (Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso, Coquimbo, 19:00)