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.
4 – Australia’s first goal at the U17 World Cup was scored by Gareth Naven
Currently serving as Melbourne Victory’s NPL and Y-League Head Coach, Naven started alongside Craig Foster and Paul Trimboli in Australia’s first match at that same 1985 tournament in China, lining up against an Argentinian side featuring Fernando Cáceres and Fernando Redondo.
With Head Coach Vic Dalgleish watching from the sidelines, Naven found the back of the net in the 28th minute to propel the Joeys to a 1-0 win over Albicelestes that day - a win that was then followed by triumphs over Congo and West Germany.
That undefeated run, though, came to an end in the quarter-finals when the Joeys were eliminated in a penalty shootout loss to Guinea.
5 – Australia’s most recent goal at the U17 World Cup was scored by Nicholas Panetta
Featuring James Delianov, Panos Armenakas, Pierce Waring, Josh Hope and Daniel Arzani, Australia’s last appearance at the U17 World Cup came in 2015.
Losing 4-1 to Germany in their opening fixture - Werder Bremen’s Johannes Eggestein firing in a brace for the Germans – Head Coach Tony Vidmar’s side ground out a 0-0 draw with Mexico in their second group game to set up all-important clash Argentina.
Then on the books with the AIS, Panetta – who most recently won NPL QLD with Gold Coast Knights – fired in goals in the 25th and 52nd minutes to steer Australia past the Argentines and into the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Unfortunately for the Joeys, eventual champions Nigeria were then waiting for them in the Round of 16, the Golden Eaglets proceeding to run out 6-0 winners at Chile’s Estadio Sausalito.
6 – The most goals scored in a U17 World Cup game is 13
Content warning for Kiwis.
New Zealand’s U17 side earned an unwanted place in the history books at the 1997 edition of the tournament in Egypt when, having lost 4-0 to Mali in their opening game and 5-0 to Mexico on matchday two, they went down 13-0 to Spain in their final group game.
Featuring just one player - Ben Sigmund – who would go on to earn a senior cap for the All Whites, New Zealand were somehow able to keep the Spanish out for 23 minutes at the Ismailia Stadium... only to then ship six first-half and seven second-half goals.
With Iker Casillas and Xavi on the pitch – neither of whom played against the Kiwis – Spain ended up taking third at that tournament, downing Germany 2-1 in the third-place game.