The 18th edition of the biennial FIFA U-17 World Cup will kick-off in Brazil. The tournament will be held from 26 October to 17 November 2019.
Peru was initially handed the hosting rights to the tournament but got stripped of it due to poor organization and substandard facilities.
This will be the first time that Brazil will be hosting a FIFA youth tournament having hosted the FIFA World Cup twice.
The tournament will be staged in 4 venues in 3 host cities namely:
Estadio Bezerrao in Gama (venue for the opening and final matches), Estadio Olimpico in Goiania, Estadio da Serrinha, also in Goiania and Estadio Kleber Andrada in Cariacica.
The tournament was formerly known as the U-16 World Championship until 2007 when it was changed to FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Since 2011, matches tied after 90 minutes will head straight to penalties instead of extra time to avoid players burning out.
For the 2019 edition, players born on or after 1 January 2002 and on or before 31 December 2004 are eligible for participation.
Twenty-four teams will participate in the tournament. The top two teams from each group will be joined by the four best third-place finishers in the Round of 16.
Defending champions, England, will not be able to defend their crown after failing to qualify for the tournament. England crashed out of the group stages at the 2019 UEFA European U-17 Championship and are the second consecutive titleholders that failed to qualify, with Nigeria being the first.
Qualified Teams for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup
The 24 teams that will compete in Brazil are:
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- Solomon Islands*
*Guinea were disqualified from the tournament after fielding overage players at the U-17 African Nations Cup in Tanzania and were subsequently replaced by Senegal.
*Solomon Islands were also initially disqualified from the tournament after fielding an overage player at the 2018 OFC U-16 Championship but appealed against the decision and got their appeal upheld hence their participation.
The most successful teams at the FIFA U-17 World Cup are Nigeria (5) titles, Brazil (3), Ghana (2) and Mexico (2).
Over the years, the FIFA U-17 World Cup has served as a platform for youngsters to showcase their talents before going on to establish themselves at the highest level. Some of these players are: Gianluigi Buffon, Francesco Totti, Ronaldinho, Xavi, Toni Kroos, Austin Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Neymar, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Phillipe Coutinho, Isco, Alvaro Morata, Casemiro, David de Gea, Allison, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Bernd Leno, Heung min Son, Koke, Mario Gotze, Victor Moses, John Mikel Obi, Anderson, Bojan Krkic, Danny Welbeck, Christian Benteke, Danny Rose, Fabio, Kenneth Omeruo, Memphis Depay, Granit Xhaka, among many others.