India will kick-off their maiden FIFA World Cup campaign against USA on October 6 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. The hosts have been drawn in a tough Group A of the Under-17 tournament with football powerhouses, which also includes Colombia and Ghana.
It’s also the first time India is hosting a FIFA-organised event and naturally there is a great sense of anticipation from the players. However, the hosts have a tough battle ahead of them. All of the opponents have participated in multiple editions of U-17 World Cup, with Ghana winning it twice. India’s match against USA will be followed by Colombia and Ghana on October 9 and October 12 respectively.
ScoopWhoop News takes a look a look at India’s opponents in Group A.
The United States of America are a regular at the U-17 World Cup and have participated in 15 of the 16 editions so far. The only time they missed out on the prestigious tournament was in 2013. Their best finish at the championship came at the 1999 edition in New Zealand, where they finished fourth.
Their last outing wasn’t very impressive, in 2015, the North American team failed to get past the group stage with no wins. This time, however, they are in red-hot form. The Americans finished runners-up in the qualifying tournament – CONCACAF U-17 Championship 2017. Winning every game in competition until they lost in the final to Mexico.
The Colombians last participated at the World Cup in 2009, which was held in Nigeria. They are making a comeback after eight years, having failed to qualify for the tournament in the same period. In 2009, Los Cafeteros produced their best performance at the tournament with a fourth place finish, a repeat of their performance at 2003 Finland edition.
Colombia qualified for the showpiece event after finishing third in this year’s South American U-17 Championship. It will their sixth appearance at an U-17 World Cup.
One of the best footballing teams from Africa, Ghana have an impressive record at the tournament. They endured their best years in 1990s, winning the tournament twice – in 1991 and 1995. And finished runners-up in 1993 and 1997.
But the recent years have been not been very productive. After finishing fourth in 2007, the ‘Black Starlets’ failed to qualify for a decade. However, the team is raring to go, after finishing runners-up at the CAF U-17 African Cup of Nations this year.
Feature image: AFP