FIFA U-17 World Cup: Three-time runners up Spain look to claim first title
Spain will be aiming to claim their first FIFA U-17 World Cup title after finishing runners up in 1991, 2003 and 2007Updated: Sep 23, 2017 18:44 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Spain dominated men’s football from 2008 to 2012 with the senior team winning three major titles including the World Cup. At the U-17 level, however, they haven’t been as successful. Three-time runners-up, Spain didn’t qualify for the last three editions.
That changed this year when the team won the UEFA European U-17 Championship, beating England 4-1 on penalties after the final finished 2-2 in regulation time. With Barcelona B forward Abel Ruiz Ortega and other talented players in their ranks, Spain have a promising squad that can go far. A maiden title win for the European U-17 champions shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
KNOW THE COACH: Santi Denia
The former Atletico Madrid and Spain player Santi Denia is the head coach. He has also served as an assistant manager at Atletico, eventually taking charge of one game as caretaker manager prior to the arrival of Quique Sanchez Flores. The 43-year-old will look to go one step further with this Spain U-17 team and add a world title to their triumph in Europe earlier this year.
PAST PERFORMANCE: Runners-up: 1991, 2003, 2007. Third place: 1997, 2009. Group stage: 1995, 1999, 2001. Did not qualify: 1993, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2015.
PASSAGE TO INDIA: Spain qualified by winning the UEFA U-17 European Championship this year.
Results at Euro U-17: Bt Turkey 3-2; b Italy 3-1; dw 1-1 V Croatia; bt France 3-1; dw 0-0 V Germany (won 4-2 on penalties); dw 2-2 V England (won 4-1 on penalties).
Name: Abel Ruiz
Club: Barcelona B
Why he is special: A natural goalscorer, Ruiz will have the onus of leading the Spanish attack. He scored four goals at the U-17 European Championship.
Name: Mateu Morey
Club: Barcelona B
Why he is special: In the year, they lost Neymar, Barcelona almost had Bayern Munich successfully swooping on Morey. Having starred in their European title win, Morey will hope to shine in India as well.
Name: Victor Chust Garcia
Club: Real Madrid Juvenil A
Why he is special: Billed as a future Spain senior international, Garcia is a key component of this team’s defence.
First Published: Sep 20, 2017 16:24 IST