Guwahati is ready to kick off proceedings as European heavyweights France face minnows New Caledonia in the opener at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium in Guwahati. This will be the sixth world cup appearance for France in FIFA U-17 World Cup.
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: The Minnows face the giants
The 2001 Champions haven’t been very successful in this age group but will be taking inspiration from their run to the quarter-final at the European u16 championship. France will be looking for nothing less than 3 points in this fixture as they face a formidable Japan in the next match.
Lyon Striker Amine Gouri will be the one to watch out as he was the top scorer at the European championships.
A concern for France will be the weather conditions but coach Lionel Rouxel has said his team has trained accordingly and all 21 players are ready to give their best.
For New Caledonia, it will be a great moment as this will be their first-ever match at the biggest stage. Many New Caledonians have gone on to play for France at the senior level. This tournament will give their youngsters a chance to shine.
Playmaker Cyril Nyipie will hold the key if they are to salvage something from this match. The more youngest recently had a trail at Stade Rennais.
New Caledonia coach Jeno had said that they are not afraid of France and will give their everything on Sunday even yesterday we saw Niger clinch a win in their historic first game against DPR Korea. France may be just too hot to handle, but upsets are not uncommon in Football.
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: The Asian Giants Japan square of against Honduras
In the other encounter, Japan takes on Honduras. Japan has failed to go past the quarter-final stage in any of the past appearances and will be determined to make it big this time.
Japanese Captain has said his team will take one match at a time and are not thinking about the final now itself. Japan qualified for the world cup following their semi-final finish in the AFC U16 championship last year, where there were on a scoring free-scoring 25 goals in 5 matches 16-year-old Takefusa Kubo will be the star to watch out.
The forward is the youngest scorer in the Japanese top division and has already represented Japan U20 at the U20 world cup this year. Coach Yoshiro Moriyama has told his players to play keeping in mind the 2018 senior world cup and the Tokyo Olympics. This team plays defensive football with a compact style and rely heavily on counter attacks. With a difficult second game against mighty France yet to come, Japan will be keen to get off to a winning start against Honduras.
Honduras, on the other hand, are regulars at the U17 world cup, but other than the quarter-final finish in 2013, they have been unsuccessful on the other occasions. Honduras finished second behind Costa Rica to qualify for the world cup.
Guwahati has had the best response for the sale of tickets after Kolkata and we can expect a full house.