It will be a historic moment for India when the clock hits 8 on Friday evening. For the first time ever, India will be participating in a FIFA World Cup at any level. India will kick start their FIFA U-17 World Cup journey by hosting a much stronger United States side at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
India and its World Cup group
The Indian youngsters are grouped with United States, Colombia and Ghana in Group A of the tournament.
Salvaging a qualifying position is a going to be a monumental task for the Indian U-17 team because of the fierce competition they face in their group. United Sates, Colombia and Ghana are routine participants of biggest football tournaments and hence, the pedigree and state-of-art facilities they train in are no match with Indian novices.
Even talent-wise, Indian youth stand a little chance against their group rivals but how they will capitalise on their home advantage remains to be seen.
FIFA U-17 World Cup kitty
Even the football legends of today started their careers with baby steps and they announced themselves on the biggest stage with sensational displays in youth tournaments. Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Neymar and so on, they all made their mark in U-17 tournaments.
With football heavyweights in Brazil, France, Germany, etc participating in the World Cup; sure there will be many mesmerizing displays to be seen.
The entire 17th edition of this tournament will be played in India across 6 venues — Navi Mumbai, Margao, Guwahati, New Delhi, Kochi and Kolkata. There are 24 countries participating in the tournament with more than 500 players in it to make their mark.
India’s history in big tournaments
Despite of not having the required merit, India qualified to participate in FIFA U-17 World Cup on the basis of a host nation. In the past, Indian footballers have played in the 1948, 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games. Interestingly, the team qualified to play in 1950 FIFA World Cup but couldn’t travel to the host nation Brazil due to inadequacy of necessary finances.