European heavyweights Germany were handed a reality check on Tuesday after a humbling 4-0 defeat at the hands of Iran in a group stage match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. The result propelled Iran to the top of the Group C table with six points while Germany are second with three.
Here's a look at the other upsets over the years in the U-17 World Cup based on technical reports filed by the Technical Study Group that FIFA constitutes in each edition:
USA stun Italy 1-0 (and then Argentina by same score)
In reality, Italy should have at least drawn this match. Notably, Alessandro del Piero (yes THAT del Piero) missed a penalty in the match.
The Technical Study Group's report noted: "The USA indicated that they meant business in this group, and the 1-0 win over Italy was not undeserved. Much of the credit must go to goalkeeper Kyle Campbell, who made several great saves (including a penalty against Alessandro del Piero) to keep the score-sheet clean. The Americans made use of the depth of space available. Italy, on the other hand, appeared to have taken their opponents too lightly, and their struggle to put things right during the second half was not enough to turn the game in their favour.
"The next match was between the USA and Argentina, who had finished second in South America behind Brazil. Again, the North Americans looked very well organised, scoring the winning goal in the 23rd minute. And a fine effort it was too, with captain Matthew McKeon connecting directly with a long cross and putting the ball calmly into the corner of the goal."
Nigeria beat Germany 2-0 to clinch 1985 title
This win was made even more remarkable by the fact that this was the first time in a world tournament that a team from Africa had even made it to the final, let alone winning it. The technical committee's report of the tournament noted: "It was amazing how self-confident the (Nigeria) players appeared. They did not seem to be affected either by the reputation of their opponents, nor by the large crowd of excited spectators, who were behind the apparent underdogs right from the start. While the Germans were still getting settled and trying carefully to control the game, the Nigerians opened the scoring. The goal was the result of a fairly typical weakness in the German defence, following a corner to the near post.
"Instead of falling back on to the defensive, the Nigerians continued to attack, and disturbed the build-up of the German attacks in their early stages. The Germans' goal-scorer was well marked by the Nigerian defenders, so they were unable to improve the result. The score-line remained the same for most of the second-half, although both teams had their chances. Then in the final minutes, the Nigerians settled the game at 2:0, following a quick breakaway."
Since this win, Nigeria have gone on to establish themselves as powerhouses at the U-17 level, winning the title four more times.
Scotland beat German Democratic Republic (GDR) 1:0 in 1989 quarter-finals
Consider this: Scotland were at the U-17 World Cup in 1989 only by virtue of being hosts. GDR, by contrast, had beaten the mighty USSR and France en route to finishing second in the UEFA U-16 Championships. On paper, the Scots had no business winning.
But, Scotland did win. How? According to the technical committee's report: "Scotland had a very well organised team based on a 1-3-4-2 system of play and what they lacked in individual technique they made up for in enthusiasm and will to compete. The players worked hard to close down more skillful opponents and were often successful in winning the ball and moving quickly into attack. This type of pressing game had obviously been coached to a high level and was responsible in the initial part of the tournament for creating the opportunities to score three of their four goals."
The Scotland team was almost impossible to score against—a fact emphasised by them conceding just one goal in the group stages.
The report added: "Directly from the kick-off Scotland set out to pressurise the GDR. Scotland had clearly set their stall out to attempt to get behind the GDR defence in wide positions. Scotland continued to hustle the Germans... As 80 minutes approached and extra time loomed, Scotland continued to press. With the game now having gone into time being added on for injury, No 8 Lindsay picked up a loose ball in the centre circle and ran for goal. With the GDR defence indecisive, he beat the last defender and shot low and hard to score, sending the crowd ecstatic and Scotland deservedly into the semi-final after a fine second half display."
Guinea stun Portugal 3-2 in 1995
This was the generation of Portugal footballers which had players like Nuno Gomes in their ranks. Before the tournament began, the European team were being touted as heavy favourites to go all the way. What is even more remarkable about this victory was that Portugal were leading by two goals at one point.
The technical report pointed out: "The big sensation achieved by coach Cherif Souleymane's team (he was a player of note himself, having won the "Ballon d'or africain" in 1982) was against Portugal, one of the favourites for this tournament. After being 0:2 down early on, the Africans came back with two goals before the interval (one a penalty) and turned the game in their favour. The Portuguese never got back into their stride and had no reply when Guinea scored their third."
Brazil lose 0-1 to Australia in 1987 group stages
This was probably the most shocking result of the 1987 edition. But then, Group C was an oddity by itself. After all, Australia topped the group inspite of the presence of teams like Brazil, France and Saudi Arabia. Brazil were sent packing without scoring a single goal in their three group stage matches—a huge letdown for a country which had finished third in the previous edition just two years ago.
The technical report noted: "Brazil's chances of qualifying had looked good until the third match against Australia but their 0-1 defeat destroyed all final hopes. At this level of play simply mastering the ball is not enough."
Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 17:24 PM