The FIFA U-17 World Cup used to feature 16 teams from 1985 to 2005 dividing four teams into four groups. The concept changed since 2007 as the tournament was expanded to feature 24 teams.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup has seen the United States of America and Brazil make the most appearances till date. Both the teams will be participating for the 16th time in this edition.
Nigeria will be missing this year’s edition yet they remain the most successful team in the tournament’s history. They have won the tournament five times (1985, 1993, 2007, 2013, 2015). They have also ended as runners-up thrice and that is why they are a big miss this year.
Ghana have reached the finals four times consecutively (1991, 1993, 1995 and 1997) but have won twice of those four matches. Brazil have won the tournament thrice while Mexico have lifted the trophy on 2 occasions. France, Switzerland, the then called Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia have all won the tournament once each.
Given Nigeria’s superb record in the tournament, it is come as no surprise that four Nigerian players have won the Golden Ball award. Kelechi Nwakali (2015), Kelechi Iheanacho (2013), Sani Emmanuel (2009) and Philip Osundo (1987) are those players.
Only three players have been able to score two hat-tricks FIFA U-17 World Cup. Ivorian Souleymane Coulibaly, France’s Florent Pongolle and Germany’s Marcel Witeczek are the three of them.
Freddy Adu was only 14-year old when he scored his hat-trick in FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2013 and he went on to score another hat-trick in the FIFA U-20 World Cup to become the first player to score a hat-trick at both the World Cups.
Both Brazil and Nigeria have been successfully able to defend their title with Brazil winning in 1997 in Egypt and then reclaiming it in 1997 in New Zealand. Nigeria won it in 2013 in the UAE and were successfully able to reclaim it in 2015 in Chile.
Teams from the same confederation have only met twice in the final with Ghana and Nigeria meeting in 1993 and Mali meeting Nigeria in 2015.
Only in 1987, 1989, 1999 and 2007 were the finals decided on penalties. In the rest of the finals, regular time was enough to decide the winner.
SONY TEN 2 and SONY TEN 3 will be the official broadcasters of the FIFA U-17 World Cup this edition with a global TV viewership of 200 million being estimated.
Brazilian legend Ronaldinho is the first and only player to win both the FIFA U-17 World Cup (1997th edition) and the FIFA World Cup Finals in 2002.