- *Are goals guaranteed, as Brazil meet Spain? *
- * * Germany determined to clinch first title
- * * Niger make tournament debut
Groups C and D of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 begin on Saturday, with three footballing heavyweights - Brazil, Germany and Spain - all keen to show the world that they are title contenders. Meanwhile, Niger take to the pitch for their first-ever match at a FIFA tournament.
(all times local)
*What you need to know * 1 Two of the tournament’s most experienced teams meet, as Germany take on Costa Rica. Both the European side and Los Ticos are taking part in their tenth FIFA U-17 World Cup, although neither nation has yet managed to lift the trophy. The Germans are aiming high in India, having become accustomed to collecting silverware, and came closest to victory by finishing as runners-up at the first edition of the competition back in 1985. Having reached the quarter-finals on four previous occasions, Costa Rica once again have the knockout stages in their sights this year.
2 Iran were the first team after hosts India to qualify for the U-17 World Cup. Team Melli’s opponents in their opening match are Guinea, who also featured at the inaugural tournament 32 years ago and have reached the finals for the fifth time.
3 Niger are one of three sides making their FIFA competition debut together with the hosts and New Caledonia. They are the 20th team from Africa to take part in the U-17 World Cup, making it the second-most represented continent after Europe (22 nations). Korea DPR will be keen to open their campaign with a win, as they prepare to make their fifth appearance at the tournament.
4 South American U-17 champions Brazil face their European counterparts Spain. A Canarinha can count themselves among the U-17 World Cup’s true heavyweights, as they hold the record for most number of games contested (75), greatest number of wins (47) and most goals (166). While Brazil have reached the final an impressive five times in 15 tournament appearances and lifted the trophy on three occasions, Spain can be equally proud of their record of three finals from eight attempts – although the title has so far eluded them. With 97 U-17 World Cup goals to their name, the European U-17 champions could reach their century in the coming days, with goals all but guaranteed in this classic football fixture.
*The stat 4 *– Four Germany players became world champions at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ after playing in a U-17 World Cup: Roman Weidenfeller (1997), Toni Kroos (2007), Mario Gotze and Shkodran Mustafi (2009).
The quote *"It’s a match between two great footballing nations, two heavyweights who are both travelling to the tournament as continental champions. There’s no doubt that this game will show both teams where they stand and what their chances are like at this competition. It’s the first match and, at the same time, our first final."
*Brazil striker Paulinho in an interview with *FIFA.com*