This afternoon, Canada’s u17 MNT continue their quest in 2019 to finally win a match at the u17 World Cup and advance from the group stages for the first time ever.
Their best-ever performance was during their previous appearance in 2013 when two draws (v Austria & Iran) and defeat to Argentina in the group stages earned them 2 points (2 pts were also acquired in 2011 with draws against England and Rwanda, although an inferior goal difference), but what of others whose achievements have fashioned the history of this tournament?
2019 is the eighteenth edition of the tournament. No team has been ever-present, but in competing at this year’s finals, Brazil and the USA are each making their 17th appearances. The current participation is Canada’s 7th.
Nigeria are the nation to have won the tournament most times 5 (8 finals), and so consequently it’s not so surprising that the African federation has prevailed on most occasions, 7. The only other African country to be crowned champions is Ghana, who reached 4 finals from 1991 to 1997.
The 2017 competition hosted by Indian not only had a record number of goals - 183, but was also watched by record attendances totalling 1.35 million spectators across the country.
Canada’s top-scoring player in the tournament is Columbus Crew’s Jordan Hamilton who scored two goals in 2013. A great incentive then for Toronto FC’s Jayden Russell-Rowe who scored his country’s goal against Brazil a few days ago. One more goal and he equals the record for a Canadian.
Most goals scored in a single match and the highest margin of victory was Spain’s 13-0 victory over New Zealand in Egypt in 1997.
First and Only -
Mexico is the only CONCACAF nation to win the tournament. They’ve been crowned champions in 2005 (Peru) and in 2011 when they were hosts, the only time in the tournament’s history when the host nation has won.
Canada has hosted on one occasion, the tournament’s second edition in 1987. The Soviet Union defeated Nigeria 4-2 on pens after a 1-1 draw at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium in front of 15,000 fans.
The only Asian Confederation nation to become u17 World Champions is Saudi Arabia, who defeated hosts Scotland in the 1989 final. The game was decided on a penalty shoot-out.
Debutants - Senegal, Angola and the Solomon Islands are all appearing in their first finals tournament in 2019. This brings to 82 the number of national associations to have participated in the finals since 1985.
Only Brazil and Nigeria have successfully defended their title: Brazil (1997 & 1999) and Nigeria (2013 & 2015). It won’t happen in 2019, as 2017 champions, England did not qualify.
Switzerland (2009 winers) is the only country to have a 100% record in the finals. They have won all seven matches in which they have participated.
Brazil’s Ronaldinho is the only player to win both the FIFA U-17 (1997) and the FIFA World Cup (2002) title.
On only one occasion have two European nations contested the final. That was two years ago, when England defeated Spain 5-2. The only other two occasions when countries from the same confederation contested final each involved, Nigeria (v Ghana in 1993 & Mali 2015).
The highest-scoring draw ever was Portugal v Cameroon in 2003. It finished 5-5. This match also represents the greatest comeback in the competition’s history too. Cameroon was 0-5 down after 52 minutes. It was the second time in the group that Portugal conceded 5 goals, yet they still managed to advance, finishing in second place.
Canada’s record defeat is 0-8 v Nigeria in 1993. It was also Canada’s worst showing in the competition, in which they also lost 0-5 to both Australia and Argentina to finish with a goal difference of 0-18. That Canadian squad included Nevio Pizzolitto, Paul Stalteri and Jim Brennan.
The world champions have only managed to crown one of their own as top goalscorer on five occasions: Nigeria’s Wilson Oruma in 1993, Florent Sinama Pongolle for France in 2001, Mexico’s Carlos Vela in 2005, Victor Osimhen for Nigeria in 2015, and England’s Rhian Brewster in 2017.
Two players scored in two different editions: former DC United favourite, Marco Etcheverry (BOL) one goal in 1985 and one in 1987 and Emmanuel Duah (GHA) one in 1991 and three in 1993.
Other tournament top scorers have included; Cesc Fabregas (SPA) (joint), Haris Seferovic (SUI) and Nii Lamptey (GHA) (joint).
Impact legend, Patrice Bernier scored Canada’s third-ever goal in the country’s fourth appearance in the finals. Disappointingly it turned out to be a consolation in a 1-2 defeat to Oman.
From 1985 to 1993, matches were played over two 40-minute halves (extra time was ten minutes each way). In Ecuador in 1995, the standard duration of matches was increased to the traditional format of 45 minutes per half (with 15 minutes per half, extra time). In 2011, extra time was abolished for the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after a proposal put forward by the FIFA Medical Committee and the FIFA Task Force Football 2014.
Thirty-two nations, with every confederation represented, have reached the semi-finals, indicating a considerably level playing field in this age group.
When Canada hosted the tournament in 1987, Montreal, Toronto, Saint John (New Brunswick) and St. John’s (Newfoundland) were the host cities.