FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Ahead of the all-important draw, here's all you need to know about the tournament
India is set to host its first FIFA tournament in October with the U-17 World Cup. Here's all you need to about the teams, format and structure of the tournament.
India is all set to host its first FIFA tournament in October with the U-17 World Cup. The official draw for the event is scheduled to happen in Mumbai on 7 July.
The 24 countries participating in the event will be divided into four team pots, each pot comprising six nations.
The different pots are:
Pot 1: India, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Mali, France
Pot 2: Spain, Japan, New Zealand, England, Iran, USA
Pot 3: Costa Rica, DPR Korea, Honduras, Iraq, Turkey, Colombia
Pot 4: Chile, Paraguay, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, New Caledonia
In addition to the four pots, there will also be six different bowls that represent the six different groups in the World Cup — Group A, B, C, D, E, F.
First, the six teams will be drawn from Pot 1 and those six teams will be placed in each of the bowls. Once all teams from Pot 1 gets transferred to their respective bowls, the remaining pots will be followed in the sequential order with Pot 4 finalising the entire draw. Since FIFA generally ensures that no two teams from the same zone gets clubbed in one group, they have tested measures to avoid the same.
For example, if a country from one confederation (e.g. AFC) is picked from any of the pots and is supposed to enter Group A but India is a part of Group A, so the country cannot be a part of the same group as two nations would end up being from the same Confederation (AFC). In this case, a draw from Group B will be picked up to determine the nation's positioning.
The event will be attended by officials from participating teams and the hosting cities.
It has been reported that legendary footballers Esteban Cambiasso from Argentina and Nigeria's Nwankwo Kanu who have been part of their country's U-17 World Cup campaigns will be attending the official draw.
“The FIFA U-17 World Cup 1993 really spurred my career, within years of winning the title, I won the Olympic gold and from there as I would like to believe, there wasn’t any looking back,” Kanu said in a statement released by the FIFA and Local Organising Committee.
Indian sporting icons Sunil Chhetri and PV Sindhu will also be there as draw assistants for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mumbai on Thursday.
The prestigious event has become a showcase event for future stars to grab the limelight, and can become a stepping stone for these youngsters to achieve greater success at a young age.
India, as hosts, have automatically qualified for the World Cup and are placed at Group A. The hosts will be making their debut at this tournament. India would play all its group matches in Delhi instead of Mumbai as per All India Football Federation's request to FIFA.
This year's edition will be held between 6 to 28 October, with the final scheduled at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
There is a lot of excitement and intrigue surrounding the tournament as it will give Indian fans a unique opportunity to watch the future Cristiano Ronaldos and Lionel Messis of the world play in their very own backyard. Here's a look at the teams, format and other details of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017.
What is the FIFA U-17 World Cup?
The FIFA U-17 World Cup is a biennial international youth football tournament, where players under the age of 17 from member nations compete for honours. The first edition of this event was held in 1985 in China, when it was an U-16 competition. The age limit was raised to 17 from the 1991 edition onwards. The most recent tournament was hosted by Chile in 2015, which was won by Nigeria, and the 17th edition is being hosted by India in 2017.
The U-16 World Cup was inspired by a tournament organised by the Football Association of Singapore called the Lion City Cup in 1982. Joe Blatter, who was the secretary-general of FIFA back then, recommended the world football body to have a similar tournament and thus the FIFA U-16 World Cup was born in 1985.
Nigeria are the most successful nation in the tournament's history, with five titles and three runners-up finishes. Brazil have won it thrice, while Ghana and Mexico have two titles each.
A corresponding tournament for female footballers, the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, began in 2008, with North Korea winning the inaugural tournament.
What is the structure and format of the tournament?
From 1985 to 2005, the tournament featured 16 teams divided into four groups of four teams. In the group stage, each team played the other three members in their group with the group winner and runner-up qualifying for the knockout phase.
Since 2007, the tournament was expanded to 24 trams, which are then divided into six groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-placed teams, advance to the last-16 phase. A total of 52 matches are played over the group stage, Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, decider for third place and the final.
The four best third-place teams are decided using the following criteria:
1. Points obtained in all group matches
2. Goal difference in all group matches
3. Number of goals scored in all group matches
4. Fair play points
5. Drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee
All matches follow the basic rules of football, with two halves of 45 minutes each. However, there is no extra time at the end of 90 minutes and all knockout matches directly proceed to a penalty shootout, if needed.
In addition to India who qualified automatically as the hosts, the other 23 teams qualified from six separate continental competitions held by their respective confederation. The six competitions are as follows: Asian Football Confederation (AFC for Asia); Oceania Football Confederation (OFC for New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, and other Pacific Island countries); Confederation of African Football (CAF for African countries); Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF for North American nations); South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL for countries in South America) and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA for European nations).
The AFC were the only confederation that hosted a U-16 championship for qualifying, the rest of the competitions were all U-17 qualifiers.
From 2017, OFC received an extra berth in the FIFA U-17 World Cup (two in all), while UEFA have only five spots instead of six. The rest of the confederations have four qualifying berths each.
Which countries will be participating in the U-17 World Cup 2017 and how did they qualify?
Here are the 24 teams which have qualified for this year's edition in India:
AFC: Iraq, Iran, India, Japan, South Korea
OFC: New Zealand, New Caledonia
CAF: Guinea, Ghana, Mali, Niger
CONMEBOL: Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay
CONCACAF: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras
UEFA: England, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey
Which are the big names missing from this year's edition?
Nigeria, the five-time winners and the defending champions, failed to qualify for the U-17 World Cup. They became the first incumbent title holders since Switzerland in 2009 to fail to qualify for the subsequent tournament. The Eagles were defeated 2-3 on aggregate by Niger in the second round of the qualifying tournament for the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations.
Other teams who usually perform well at the senior level but missed out on qualification for the U-17 tournament include Italy, Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium. Turkey, the surprise team from the UEFA confederation, defeated Italy 2-1 to knock them out in the group stage of their qualifying event. Netherlands lost on the quarter-final stage of the same 2017 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, while Portugal and Belgium failed to even reach the final qualification stage.
From the South American countries, Uruguay are the traditional heavyweights that are missing.
What about India? Where will the matches be held?
India have never in the past qualified for the U-17 World Cup, but this year as hosts they have an automatic place booked for them in the group stage. The Indian football team have been preparing for the extravaganza with exposure trips to USA and Europe, where they have played against stiffer competition than what they would usually face in Asia. India did participate in the U-16 AFC Championship, but could not make it past the group stage after a 3-3 draw against Saudi Arabia and losses against UAE and Iran.
It will be a tough task for the hosts to progress to the knockout phase, but expectations will be high from the home team. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) relieved German Nicolai Adam from the position of the U-17 Indian football team's head coach in January. Former SL Benfica 'B' coach Luis Norton de Matos was named as a replacement. Under his reign, the team defeated an Italian U-17 team 2-0 in May.
The six cities that will host the matches are Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi, Guwahati and Margao. Each city will be assigned one group each after the draw is made on 6 July and all matches of the group will be held in the same stadium.
The official emblem was launched on 27 September, 2016 by the organisers and a clouded leopard called Kheleo was introduced as the official mascot in February. "Football takes over" is the official slogan for the event.
Where can you buy tickets?
Tickets for the grand event can be bought through FIFA's ticketing website here. The sale of the tickets has been divided into four phases, and the earlier you buy your tickets, the cheaper they will be.
The tickets prices are classified into four categories and the sales have also been divided into four phases. The ticket prices range between Rs 40 to Rs 800.
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