Having appeared in the final of the competition on three separate occasions, Spain are yet to win at this level. 1991, 2003, 2007 were the years that saw Spain’s U17 squad finish as runners-up in the final of the U17 World Cup.
There is a hope this year that they will be able to overcome this hurdle as the same squad won the UEFA European U-17 Championships this summer.
Considering the players are still such a young age, there is not only a concentration on football in India. As revealed in a report by FIFA, the Spanish players are required to undergo at least one hour of academics every day. Click here for full report.
This encompasses the group element rather than individual work. Working as a group not only on the pitch but also in the classroom allows for a natural chemistry to grow between the players, which would hopefully transfer onto the pitch.
So far, this has worked well for the Spanish U17’s. They have qualified for the quarter final stages having beaten France 2-1 in the round of 16. Spain came out of a difficult group along with much fancied Brazil.
Having lost their first match to Brazil 2-1, Spain beat Niger 4-0 and North Korea 2-0. In doing so, they qualified for the round of 16 where they met France. When it looked like the game was going to head to penalties after full time, Spain won a penalty. Barcelona man and U17 captain Abel Ruiz stepped up and tucked it away.
With Sergio Gomes, Moha and Abel Ruiz performing well so far, it is hoped this year the U17’s will be able to finally win this elusive tournament.
On Sunday, they will face a resilient and well-structured Iran team. They can certainly expect to own the majority of possession. Iran have maintained only 40%, 43%, 48% and 35% in their four games. Spain will naturally look to maintain control of the ball and game, create openings by varying avenues of attack.
Tune in Sunday at 21:30 GMT to see if La Rojita can advance to the semi-final stage. Should they expectedly win, they will meet the winner of Ghana versus Mali. This could also set up a meeting with group stage rivals Brazil in the final.