- Pablo Aimar’s Argentina start campaign against four-time finalists Spain
- Monday also offers first glimpse of reigning African champions Cameroon
- 15-year-old Fernando Ovelar is Paraguay’s great hope against Mexico
The first round of matches in Group E sees two of the very best come face to face, as Argentina take on Spain in Vitoria. South American champions Argentina come into the tournament with a big reputation and, in Pablo Aimar, boast a coach who enjoyed a stellar international playing career of his own. Like their opponents, Spain have never won the FIFA U-17 World Cup. However, they have finished runners-up on four occasions and were finalists at the most recent edition in 2017.
Elsewhere in Group E, the current kings of Africa, Cameroon, will start as favourites against Tajikistan in Vitoria. The Asian side are taking part in the tournament for only the second time, having unexpectedly reached the final of the continental U-16 championship in 2018, where they lost to Japan.
Solomon Islands are appearing at the U-17 World Cup for the very first time in their history. The Oceania U-16 runners-up will kick off their campaign against perennial contenders Italy, who qualified for Brazil 2019 by reaching the final of the European competition at the same age group, where they lost to the Netherlands. The match will take place in Brasilia.
Also in Brasilia, Paraguay, who finished third in the South American tournament, will take on Mexico. The reigning Concacaf champions have a formidable record at the U-17 World Cup, a tournament that they have already won on two occasions. The Mexicans triumphed at Peru 2005 and again as hosts in 2011.
📅 The games
📌 What you need to know
Some of Argentina’s all-time greats took their first steps as international footballers at the U-17 World Cup. Notable examples include Fernando Redondo (China PR 1985), Juan Sebastian Veron (Italy 1991), Esteban Cambiasso (Ecuador 1995) and Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez (Trinidad and Tobago 2001), as well as the man in charge of today’s side, Pablo Aimar, who took part in the 1995 edition.
“We always have to set our sights high. But we’ve got to take it one match at a time and try to pick up the points needed to qualify from our group, and then we can think about the knockout stages.”
-Spain coach Juan David Gordo
🔎 Players to watch
Fernando Ovelar (Midfielder, Paraguay)
Paraguay’s No10 shot to fame at the tender age of 14, when he scored a goal for Cerro Porteno’s first team against arch rivals Olimpia. Now aged 15, he is already starting to emerge as a key figure for the national team.
Pedri (Forward, Spain)
He's not even 17 yet, but the Las Palmas player is already being selected for his club side in the Spanish second division. Barcelona recently completed a deal that will see the youngster move to the Catalan giants in 2020.