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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Colombia look to excel under heavyweight tag

The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India will be Colombia’s sixth finals appearance and their best performance till date came in 2009 when they finished third after losing to Spain 0-1 in the semi-finals.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Sep 30, 2017 15:16 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup,Colombia football team
Colombia carry the legacy of Latin America at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.(AFP)

Colombia are one of the heavyweights in Latin American football to have never won a world title. The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India will be their sixth finals appearance and their best performance till date came in 2009 when they finished third after losing to Spain 0-1 in the semi-finals. The Colombians have enjoyed a good record at the South American championships with three medals (1994, 2010 and 2014) and a world title will be the perfect addition to their trophy cabinet.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: India’s group games moved from Mumbai to Delhi

KNOW THE COACH: Orlando Restrepo

The 61-year old has never played professional football but has coached a number of clubs in Colombia, Bolivia and Costa Rica. He was appointed U-17 manager in 2016. He is also a sports technology practitioner and physical education instructor. Restrepo prefers to play counter-attacking football and is well-known for strong defensive tactics.

PAST PERFORMANCE: Fourth place: 2003, 2009. Round of 16: 2007. First round: 1989, 1993. Did not qualify: 1985, 87, 91, 95-2001, 2005, 2011-15.

PASSAGE TO INDIA: Colombia booked their FIFA U-17 World Cup berth after finishing third in the South American Under-17 Football Championship.

Results in South American U-17 Championship: Bt Ecuador 2-1; dw V Chile 1-1; bt Uruguay 3-1; lost to Bolivia 2-3, bt Ecuador 2-1, lost to Chile 0-1, dw V Venezuela 0-0, lost to Brazil 0-3, bt Paraguay 2-1

POSSIBLE GAME-CHANGER

Juan Penaloza

Age: 17

Club: Estudiantil

Position: Midfielder

Why he is special: The midfielder has scored 3 goals in 8 matches for the national side and since his debut in 2016, he has established himself as one of the most exciting prospects of Colombia football.

Name: Andres Balanta

Age: 17

Club: Deportivo Cali

Position: Defender

Why he is special: The defender plays for Deportivo Cali, one of the most successful football teams in the nation. He is highly rated by the coach and the youngster will be an asset for his side.

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 15:00 IST