FIFA U-17 World Cup: Ignore European champions Spain at your own peril | fifa u17 world cup 2017 | Hindustan Times
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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Ignore European champions Spain at your own peril

The Spanish FIFA U-17 World Cup team has 10 players from Barcelona and Real Madrid’s youth academies. They will be hungry to win their maiden world title

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 05, 2017 09:04 IST
Marcos Tebar Ramiro
Spain won the European U-17 championship in Croatia and they are one of the favourites heading into the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
Spain won the European U-17 championship in Croatia and they are one of the favourites heading into the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.(FIFA U-17 World Cup)

Spain are coming to the FIFA U-17 World Cup with lot of enthusiasm and hope. Spanish footballers are very popular in India and superstars like Iniesta, Isco, David Silva, Gerard Pique and Fernando Torres are household names. During this World Cup, you will get to see the future of Spanish football.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup is a platform to showcase your talent. It’s also a stage for the unknown superstar in the making. Legends like Luis Figo, Xavi Hernandez, Alessandro Del Piero, Iker Cassilas have played in Under-17 World Cups. So there is no shortage of brand ambassadors.

Like many professional footballers in Spain, I have gone through this gruelling process. Having played the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup final versus Brazil in Finland in 2003, I understand the value of good work ethics. Spain are in India after having won the European under-17 title in Croatia in May. Winning an European title needs lot of hard work.

Spain have qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup after eight years. So, the team is surely raring to go. The young guns should take a lot of encouragement from its European victory. The current squad has a few new names but the core remains the same, so I believe Spain stand a good chance to move up as the tournament progresses to make history.

Captain and forward Abel Ruiz has been in great form. So, the team doesn’t have to go too far to get inspiration. Spain are in a tough group with Brazil, Niger and North Korea. So the matches should be exciting.

The current squad features 10 players from Barcelona and Real Madrid’s youth academies La Masia and La Fabrica, respectively. They are known for their quick and beautiful passing game, so that’s what they need to continue doing.

The conditions in India are good to play football. Even the food, if you can develop a taste, shouldn’t be a problem. The team is going to play all their group games in Kochi, and I can say that they will enjoy the crowd there because fans in Kerala love the sport of football.

It’s great to see India hosting a FIFA World Cup. The home squad has already made history for being the first to represent India at a FIFA event. Whatever the Indian players achieve will be something special and serve as inspiration for the next generation

(A defensive midfielder who played for Real Madrid, Ramiro was a member of the Spain squad that lost to Brazil in the FIFA U-17 World Cup final in Finland in 2003. He will play for Pune City FC in the ISL this season)