FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 Preview: Group B
Written by: Pradyumna Tembhekar
The spectators are in for a surprise as the supposed underdogs can turn out to be title challengers.
Mumbai is a football crazy city and neighbouring Navi Mumbai is gearing up to host the biggest tournament in the history of Indian football. Football on the western coast of India is over a century old and has a rich legacy of countless clubs and players vying to reach the heights. The hard-working and relentless nature of Navi Mumbai captures this spirit well as they gear up to host the FIFA Under 17 World Cup.
There is not much hype seen while discussing a group that does not have countries which perform at the senior team world cup. But this group has at least one supposed underdog who is definitely a title contender. The Dr. D Y Patil Stadium was slated earlier to hold the matches in Group A with hosts India playing the fixtures here. But, due to unforeseen circumstances, it will now be hosting the Group B matches. This led to fans being disappointed, but the love of football triumphed and it is speculated that Navi Mumbai could see near full houses.
The World Cup will kick start on 6th October and will continue for a span of 20 days. There are going to be a total of 50 matches between 24 teams, divided equally into 6 groups. New Zealand are set to face Mali from Africa, Paraguay from South America and Turkey from Europe. All of the Group B matches will be played on 6th, 9th and 12th October.
Named after the former Governor of Bihar and a Padmashree awardee, the Dr. DY Patil Stadium was initially constructed to host One-Day International and Indian Premier League cricket matches.
It was further modified for the Indian Super League as the stadium hosted Mumbai City FC matches in the 2014 and 2015 editions. It also hosted the final of the 2014 ISL between ATK and Kerala Blasters.
To reach the DY Patil Stadium check out our city guide here.
Khel Now brings you the detailed outlook on the Group B teams, their squads and a bit of an insight into their gameplay.
New Zealand will look to break their jinx this time around
New Zealand have been regular entrants to the tournament and this is their sixth consecutive appearance. However, they have not had any significant achievements till now, with Round of 16 finishes in 2009, 2011 and 2015. Getting through the group stages has been difficulty and the Kiwis would look to break this jinx.
Manager: Former New Zealand, Premier League and UEFA Champions League player Danny Hay has had a good record with this side so far and the side has progressed well under him. The head coach was a part of Leeds United and also played for Walsall from 1999 to 2003. He has had 31 appearances for the New Zealand national team and has two goals to his name. After retiring in 2009 he took over the New Zealand U-17 squad in 2015 where he led his side to the round of 16.
Road to World Cup: New Zealand have qualified for the tournament as champions of Oceania for the sixth time in a row, with a 7-0 victory over New Caledonia. An 11-0 win over Samoa was their most notable performance throughout the tournament.
Gameplay: This squad likes to stick to basics and carry out the prescribed gameplay for the entire duration of the game. Their slow build up play is the reason many teams have dominated them in this competition. Once they get settled, they can take on any opponent and play to their fullest. They tried the 4-2-3-1 formation, modified into an attacking flat 4-3-3 in the games against Brazil and England.
If they adapt to their game plan quickly then we can see this team doing well. On the whole the team presses well and can churn out results against quality opposition just based on their midfield prowess.
Goalkeepers: Zak Jones(Wellington Olympic), Jacob Clark(Onehunga Sports) , Nicholas Milner(Brisbane Roar)
Defenders: Jordan Spain(Saint Kentigem), Joshua Rogerson(Western Suburbs), Liberato Cacace(Wellington Olympic), Boyd Curry(Onehunga Sports), Matthew Jones(Twenty 11), Ben Deeley(Auckland Grammar School), Emlyn Wellsmore(Brisbane Roar)
Midfielders: Leon van den Hoven(Onehunga Sports), Elijah Just(Western Suburbs), Oliver Duncan(Brisbane Roar), Max Mata(Onehunga Sports), Willem Ebbinge(Wellington Phoenix), Kingsley Sinclair(Onehunga Sports), Kieran Richards(Western Springs), Oliver Whyte(Wellington Phoenix)
Strikers: Matthew Conroy(Western Springs), Matthew Palmer(Eastern Suburbs), Charles Spragg(Western Springs)
This will be Turkey's third appearance in the tournament
Turkey is the only team in the group that does not have a good record in this competition in terms of qualification. This is their first appearance in the tournament after 2009. However, their best finish was in 2005 when they were semi-finalists in that edition. These are the only two appearances they have had in the World Cup till now.
Manager: Hakan Tecimer is an ex-Turkish national team player. He also played for Fenerbahce ( Yes, Robin van Persie still plays there) from 1988 to 1996. He retired in 2000 and started his coaching career from 2001. He has had the honour of coaching Fenerbahce’s youth and senior teams as well.
Road to World Cup: Turkey qualified for this year’s World Cup as a third-place finisher in the UEFA U-17 Youth Championship, having lost in the semi-finals they qualified on goals scored. This is going to be their third appearance in the tournament.
Gameplay: The team that boasts of players that evolved into world-class talents through this platform. The likes of Nuri Sahin of Dortmund, Hakan Calhanoglu of AC Milan, and Arda Turan of FC Barcelona, have been part of this team before and even now they are not short of individuals who can make a difference. But that seems to be their weakness leading to lack of appearances. Great individual gameplay, but no cohesive team play during the game. A 4-4-2 approach or a 4-3-3 flat formation is usually used by the Turkish youth teams regularly and we can see them doing the same. They have players who play and train in the youth teams of Galatasaray and Borussia Monchengladbach; so we know they have individual talents whose careers can shape up just like Sahin or Turan, but if these brilliant players learn to play as a cohesive unit, they can definitely make their country proud.
Goalkeepers: Berke Ozer (Altinordu) , Eren Bilen (Goztepe) , Ozan Oruc (Altinordu)
Defenders: Emirhan Civelek(Galatasaray), Melih Gökçimen(Galatasaray), Sahan Akyuz(Altinordu), Ozan Kabak(Galatasaray), Ismail Cokcalis(Bursaspor), Abdussamed Karnucu(Galatasaray), Berk Cetin(Borussia Monchengladbach).
Midfielders: Sefa Akgun(Trabzonspor) , Kerem Kesgin(Bucaspor), Atalay Babacan(Galatasaray) , Racep Gul(Galatasaray) , Umut Gunes(Stuttgart), Sezer Taskolu(Goztepe), Egehan Gok(Altinordu).
Strikers: Ahmed Kutucu(FC Schalke 04) , Malik Karaahmet(Karlsruher SC) , Yunus Akgun(Galatasaray) , Embiya Ayyidiz(Altinordu)
Paraguay U-17 football team
The Paraguayan team has been a squad that has not seen consistency given the nature and style of gameplay they exhibit on the pitch, hence they have not done very well in this competition. However, the South American team has the potential to progress into the knockout rounds, be it the Round of 16 or even Quarterfinals.
Manager: Ex-Paraguayan national team player Gustavo Morinigo guided his team to the group stage of the 2015 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup but could not make it to the knockout stages. The head coach was a part of the Paraguay squad that participated in the Copa America in 2011 and the FIFA World Cup in 2002.
Road to World Cup: Paraguay enter the tournament as third-place finishers in the CONMEBOL U-17 Championships, behind Brazil and Chile.
Gameplay: When it comes to South American teams, we think of skills, passes, extraordinary dribbling skills and swift tactical transitional gameplay. We can expect something from this team on the similar lines. They have already faced their group opponents in the previous editions of this competition, but have lost to each one of them comprehensively, so this will be a good test to know whether they have rectified their mistakes or they are still the same.
Goalkeepers: Diego Huesca(Valencia CF), Angel Roa(Olimpia), Jonathan Martinez(Olimpia)
Defenders: Jesus Rolon(Olimpia), Roberto Fernandez Urbieta(Guarani), Pedro Alvarez Benitez(Cerro Porteno), Alexis Duarte(Cerro Porteno), Marcelo Rolon Bell(Libertad), Luis Zarate(Libertad)
Midfielders: Braian Ojeda(Olimpia), Stevens Gomez(Cerro Porteno), Julio Baez(Cerro Porteno), Victor Villasanti(Guarani), Giovanni Bogado(Libertad), Alan Francisco Rodriguez(Cerro Porteno)
Strikers/Forwards: Antonio Galeano(Rubio Nu), Fernando Romero(Nacional), Leonardo Sanchez Cohener(Olimpia), Anibal Vega(SE Palmeiras, Brazil), Fernando David Cardozo(Olimpia), Blas Armoa(Sportivo Luqueno)
REPUBLIC OF MALI
The Republic of Mali U-17 football team
Mali are one of the more successful teams in this tournament in the recent editions. They boast of runner-up medal in 2015 with Nigeria, the five time champions, being the ultimate winners. They were quarter-finalists in the 1997 and 2001 editions.This team is definitely entering the tournament as title contenders indeed.
Manager: Ex-Togo international Jonas Kokou Komla has had an incredible stint with the Mali U-17 team, leading the team to their Africa Cup of Nations victory. He was appointed after the 2015 World Cup where the team finished runners-up. Since then the team has been performing impressively under his guidance
Road to World Cup: Popularly known as Les Aiglonnets, Mali have qualified to the tournament as the champions of the African Cup of Nations beating the likes of Guinea, Ghana and Nigeria. Their swift style of play was the eye-catching point of their tournament success.
Gameplay: Watch out for this team’s pace. They are extremely quick and can control the game as they want. They are also very comfortable on and off the ball. Mental toughness is a huge plus point of this team. The players are physical, have extremely good vision and put their 100% in every game. Definitely one of the teams to watch out for.
Defensively, they have a bunch of quality goalkeepers with physically strong defenders, who are also dangerous at set-pieces.
Goalkeepers: Alkalifa Coulibay (Niomi), Youssouf Koita (Bamako), Massire Gassama (Black Stars)
Defenders: Boubacar Haidara (Bakaridjan), Fode Konate (Bamako), Mamadi Fofana (Diarra), Soumaila Doumbia (ASAC), Abdoulaye Diaby (Djoliba), Ibrahim Kane (Black Stars)
Midfielders: Djemoussa Traore (ALOB), Mohamed Camara (Real Bamako), Abdoulaye Dabo (Africa Foot), Salam Giddou (Guidars), Siaka Sidibe (Stade Malien), Mamadou Samake (Yelleni Olimpic), Cheick Oumar Doucoure (Real Bamako)
Strikers: Hadji Drame (Yelleni Olimpic), Seme Camara (Diarra), Mamadou Traore (Stade Malien), Mahamane Toure (Real Bamako), Lassana Ndiaye (Guidars)
Here are the score Predictions of the fixtures that will be played in Group B.
New Zealand 1-1 Turkey
Paraguay 1-4 Mali
Turkey 0-3 Mali
Paraguay 2-1 New Zealand
Mali 3-0 New Zealand
Turkey 2-2 Paraguay
Mali finishes on the top of the table in this group by winning all their matches with no haste, followed by Paraguay in the second place. On the other hand, New Zealand and Turkey finish their journeys in the FIFA U-17 World Cup by finishing third and fourth respectively.
Published: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:27 PM IST