Football fanatics across the globe can expect thrills and spills aplenty in the 14th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, with dozens of goals, hundreds of dribbles and tackles, thousands of spectators and millions of fans all playing their part in the action.
As the clock ticks down on the opening exchanges at Mexico 2011, FIFA.com digs out a calculator and looks over some of the more unusual facts and figures from the upcoming tournament.
– The number of coaches set to lead out their teams at the finals for the second time in succession. Both USA tactician Wilmer Cabrera and the Netherlands’ Albert Stuivenberg were present at Nigeria 2009, with the European side exiting after the group stage and the States losing out 2-1 to Italy in the last 16.
– The number of players born on 1 January 1994, the cut-off point for eligibility in this competition. The trio in question are Canada’s Jay Chapman, Aziz Kabore of Burkina Faso and Argentina’s Lucas Pugh. With an average age of 17 and three months, the South American challengers have nonetheless travelled with the joint-oldest squad along with Brazil.
– The average number of players per squad plying their trade abroad in club football. Côte d’Ivoire possess the largest number of overseas players with nine altogether, topping the list ahead of Rwanda and their six.
– The number of birthdays destined to be celebrated during the tournament, with Denmark’s Olivier Korch, Japan’s Takuya Iwanami and Luis Canga of Ecuador due to get the party started when the action kicks off on 18 June. The Ecuador squad will be particularly festive as, along with Congo, Eddy Corozo (28 June 1994) and Kevin Barzola (9 July 1995) will also be blowing candles out during Mexico 2011.
– The height difference in centimetres between the tallest and shortest players in the competition. Denmark defender Patrick Jensen and Czech Republic goalkeeper Lukas Zima will be looking down on the rest of the field at 1m92, while Panama midfielder Darwin Pinzon and Rwandan full-back Eugene Habyarimana occupy the opposite end of the scale at 1m59.
– The number of days that will have passed between the birth of Congo’s Amour Loussoukou, the youngest player in the tournament, and his team’s first game. Born on 5 December 1996, the midfielder will be aged just 14 years, six months and 13 days when the African hopefuls tackle Netherlands on 18 June, but the overall record for youngest player will still belong to Peter Ogaba. The Nigerian prodigy appeared at the 1987 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup at the tender age of 12 years and ten months.