Australia will kick off its pursuit of U17 World Cup glory this Sunday when Head Coach Trevor Morgan’s side walk onto Goiânia's Estádio Olímpico Pedro Ludovico to take on Ecuador.
Australia’s U17 side – nicknamed the Joeys – are the most successful of all of Australia’s representative sides; their crowning moment coming in 1999 when a side led by Head Coach Les Scheinflug and featuring the likes of Jade North, Scott McDonald and Josh Kennedy suffered a penalty shootout defeat in the final to Brazil.
Get set for the tournament with 10 more little-known facts on the U17 showcase that FTBL has dug up for you to become the official office authority on all things junior football.
1 – Ange Postecoglou is one of only 10 men to have coached at both the U17 and Senior Men’s World Cup
Standing on the precipice of making history with J-League side Yokohama F. Marinos, Postecoglou will have a lot on his plate over the coming five weeks. Yet, the 54-year-old’s eye may find itself wandering occasionally to keep track of the progress of a Joeys side he led to three World Cups.
Departing South Melbourne in 2000 after guiding Hellas to 1997/98 and 1998/99 NSL titles, Postecoglou was in charge of the Joeys at the 2001, 2003 and 2005 editions of the U17 World Cup; his best result coming in 2001 when he led a side featuring Alex Wilkinson, Carl Valeri and Brett Holman to the quarter-finals.
Postecoglou then went on to lead the Socceroos into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil – winning plaudits for his fearless approach to games against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain – as well as securing qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
2 – The highest attendance for a U17 World Cup match is 98,943
As should come as no surprise, the fixture that attracted the largest crowd in U17 World Cup history was both a final and a contest featuring a football-mad, host nation.
On July 10, 2011, 98,943 fans packing into the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City to watch Mexico face Uruguay in the final of the 2011 tournament.
Taking the field after Germany defeated Brazil 4-3 – a contest which has the second-highest official attendance in World Cup history with 94, 379 – goals to Antonio Briseño and Giovani Casillas sent the fans home happy that day as El Tri became two-time U17 World Champions.
3 – The first goal in U17 World Cup history was scored by Bismarck
No, not Otto.
Brazilian midfielder Bismarck Barreto Faria – better known as Bismarck – became the first player to find the back of the net at an U17 World Cup in Seleção’s opening game of the 1985 tournament in China when he scored in the ninth minute of Brazil’s opening match against Qatar – pipping Costa Rica’s Hernán Medford by three minutes.
Brazil ended up finishing as third-placed finishers in China, losing 4-3 to Marcel Witeczek-inspired West Germany in the semi-finals before defeating Guinea 4-1 in the third-place play-off.