2017 will go down as a special year for Indian football. The first-ever FIFA tournament held in the country has culminated in being a massive success. Even though the Indian team ended up with 0 points, the country has a lot to be proud about. Eventually, England beat Spain 5-2 in a fascinating final to emerge as the winners of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017.
The 2017 edition has set a record for being the highest ever attended FIFA U17 World Cup in history. India beat the long-held record of China in 1985. While one can argue about the relevance of this stat, it clearly exhibits the interest and passion for the game in India. The passion for the game in the country is vivid and now it remains the responsibility of the authorities to make the best use of it. It’s important to realize the football flavor in the country right now and utilize it. One can be confident that this event will be first of many FIFA events and other showpiece football events to happen in the country.
Though the team finished without anything to show for, Indian fans had a lot to be proud about in their team. It would have been naive to achieve anything and the fact that an Indian side was playing a FIFA tournament was reason enough to be happy about. The performances of the team were extremely encouraging. The fight and valor the Indian side put gave enough reasons for Indians to be optimistic about. A bit of luck here or there and the Indians could have even got some points on the board too. The sad part is, if the history of Indian sport is too go by, this talented bunch would be wasted. Only can only hope that its different with these guys.
Coupled with their FIFA U20 World Cup win earlier this year, England has had quite the perfect year in Junior football. Quite evidently, they have a brilliant set of youngsters coming through across age groups. If Premier League Clubs give these players the opportunity they deserve, England’s fortune on the senior level could change for good.
Although they lost the finals, Spain exited the rich vein of footballing talent flowing in the country. It has been a feature of Spanish football over the years which has ultimately led to their senior team prospering. If what we saw at the FIFA U17 World Cup is to go by, their future is bright. Two players who impressed richly were Barcelona’s Abel Ruiz and Valencia’s Ferran Torres.
The last edition was won by an African nation in Nigeria. Even this FIFA U17 World Cup saw Mali reach the semi-final and Ghana make the quarterfinals. Not only did they reach the later rounds but also put in impressive and spirited performances. This exhibits the enormous talent available in Africa. While African teams have made their mark on the senior level, they quite haven’t reached the level of European and South American teams. The African nations have shown they are capable enough to bridge the gap.