FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017
England make history as football takes over India
29 Oct 2017
Young Lions lifted trophy for first time
Philip Foden named player of tournament
Record number of goals scored
"A new champion, a record and the stars of the future."
If you had to sum up the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in one short sentence, this would be it, but the event brought much more besides.
Fans flocked to the six host stadiums throughout the competition, which was followed by more than a million people. A total of 52 matches were contested, with the final – in which England overturned a two-goal deficit before eventually overwhelming Spain – providing a fitting climax. In the process, the Young Lions etched their names into history by winning the title for the first time, following in the footsteps of their older compatriots, who achieved the very same feat at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017.
FIFA.com rounds up the biggest stories from a hugely successful 17th instalment of the U-17 World Cup.
England had never made it beyond the quarter-finals in their previous three appearances, twice being knocked out in the last eight. Steve Cooper's side were therefore not considered among the pre-tournament favourites, but they soon established themselves as contenders with three fine victories in the group stage. They made similarly impressive progress through the knockout rounds before sealing glory – and sweet revenge – by getting the better of Spain, their conquerors in the UEFA U-17 European Championship final a few months earlier.
After going 2-0 down inside the opening half an hour, it looked for all the world like their dream was over, but the Young Lions roared back at Kolkata's Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan with five goals of their own without reply. Besides hoisting the overall trophy, the champions' Philip Foden was awarded the adidas Golden Ball, recognising him as the tournament's outstanding player, while prolific marksman Rhian Brewster captured the adidas Golden Boot and Silver Ball.
The best of the rest
Spain bounced back from an opening defeat by Brazil to embark on a superb run. Their attacking talent was in full evidence during their wins over France, Iran and Mali en route to the title decider, but their defensive frailties came back to haunt them when it mattered most and they had to settle for a fourth runners-up finish.
Though their wait for another title continues, Brazil showed that they are back among the elite. Following a string of excellent displays, the three-time champions will have fancied themselves to return to the final for the first time since 2005, only to come undone against England in the semi-finals. A Seleção then regrouped to claim third place.
Mali, the beaten finalists at Chile 2015, headed to India with big ambitions and recovered from a shaky start to showcase all their flair and fearsome firepower. However, they were ultimately undone by their lack of pragmatism and, despite topping the charts for attempts on goal with 184 shots, they fell just short of a spot on the podium.
The new boys
Three teams made their debuts at the tournament, chief among them hosts India, who enjoyed fervent support throughout despite bowing out with three losses in the group stage. Jeakson Thounaojam's goal against Colombia was the highlight of the home nation's campaign, which is sure to stand Indian football in good stead for the future.
New Caledonia, one of two Oceanian representatives, endured a baptism of fire in the shape of thumpings by France and Honduras, but returned home brimming with pride after holding Japan to a draw to earn their first point at the competition. For their part, Niger shone, opening with victory and qualifying for the knockout stage.
Though they were not debutants, Iraq also deserve special mention here, having displayed just how far they have come since their maiden appearance in 2013, when they lost all three of their matches. The Iraqis went into the tournament as Asian champions and carried forward the momentum from that triumph in India last year, picking up their first victory on this stage and making it out of their group by finishing second, with four points.
Spectators were treated to swashbuckling entertainment aplenty during the event. Indeed, 174 goals had flown in by the conclusion of the semi-finals, surpassing the previous FIFA U-17 World Cup record of 172, set at UAE 2013. With a further nine strikes added in the final and play-off for third place combined, the new record now stands at 183.
The stars of tomorrow
Just like at every edition of the tournament, numerous players announced themselves as rising stars at India 2017. Besides the above-mentioned player of the tournament Philip Foden and top scorer Rhian Brewster, heads were turned by the likes of Abel Ruiz, Spain's captain and leading marksman; his countrymen Sergio Gomez and Cesar Gelabert; Mali's Lassana N'Diaye; Brazil's Paulinho; Germany skipper Jann-Fiete Arp; and France sharpshooter Amine Gouiri. Now fans will be looking to these starlets, among others, to lead their respective countries to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.
Women with the whistle
To support the development of women's refereeing, seven women referees were invited to officiate at the competition. They mostly worked as fourth officials, but Esther Staubli of Switzerland got the nod to take charge of the group-stage encounter between Japan and New Caledonia, becoming the first woman to referee a game at the tournament since Korea Republic's Im Eunju did so at the 2001 edition.
adidas Golden Ball: Philip Foden (England)
adidas Golden Boot: Rhian Brewster (England)
adidas Golden Glove: Gabriel Brazao (Brazil)
FIFA Fair Play Award: Brazil
Host cities and stadiums
Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Kolkata), Dr. DY Patil Stadium (Navi Mumbai), Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Goa), Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium (Guwahati), Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (New Delhi), Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium (Kochi)
183, a new tournament record