As the Blue Colts get ready for the U-17 World Cup, we take a look at how many World Cups have their Group A rivals participated in…
India is privileged to host the U-17 World Cup next month in what promises to be the biggest footballing event to ever grace the subcontinent. Being hosts India has been granted direct entry to the finals of the the FIFA-organised world tournament. India is slotted into Group A along with Colombia, USA and Ghana.
Unlike India, their opponents USA, Colombia and Ghana all have previous experience of playing in the U17 World Cup.
The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup will be Colombia’s sixth appearance at the blockbuster event. It will be their first since Nigeria 2009, where they had managed a third-place finish.
African side Ghana has been a household name when it comes to the U-17 World Cup. They have participated in nine of the 17 World Cup events starting with their first back in Scotland 1989.
Their most successful stint though was back in the 90s. The U-17 stars of the West African nation won twice (Italy 1991 and Ecuador 1995), finishing runners-up as many times (Japan 1993 and Egypt 1997 – all during four back-to-back editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Even in the 1999 edition of the tournament held in New Zealand, Ghana had finished third. They qualified again for the 2005 edition of the tournament but failed to get through the group stage. Some salvation was achieved when in 2007 they ended as the fourth best team in the tournament but for another 10 years, the Black Starlets were nowhere to be seen in the world’s elite junior football championship.
Meanwhile, USA has qualified for almost every edition of the tournament since its inception back in 1985. The US side failed to qualify only once back in 2013. The 2017 edition of the tournament will be their 16th appearance in the U-17 World Cup.
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Their best finish to date is fourth place back in the 1999 edition of the tournament where they were led by the legendary Landon Donovan.
To put things into perspective, this is India’s very first Under-17 World Cup. In that sense, one must keep the expectations grounded to reality as opposed to expecting a miracle of sorts.