And we're off: FIFA U-17 World Cup, Matchday 1
Shocks and surprises, standouts and stars. It's MD1 of the U-17 World Cup in Indonesia.
After four long years, the FIFA U-17 World Cup is back.
Matchday one didn’t disappoint. From Indonesia’s first goal at a FIFA tournament at any level, to Iran’s incredible comeback win over Brazil, and Senegal’s smash-and-grab victory over Argentina, there is so much to get into.
A few early trends are clear. The brutal conditions in Indonesia are having - and will continue to have - a major impact. This time of year in South East Asia brings warm weather, lots of rain, and life-sapping humidity. For the players, that means heavy legs, lots of sweating and constant cramping.
We’re already seeing plenty of ‘games of two halves’. These aren’t dictated by tactical shifts but by massive changes in the tempo as players tire between the half-time and about the 70th minutes. The juxtaposition of the fresh legs of substitutes and starters becomes very stark the deeper into games. Many second halves became slugfests of who can manage a stretched out game better, and which players able to dig deep and push through.
Get used to some ridiculous added time periods, too. There have been four or five games in which 10+ minutes have been added on, and all it does is drag out a very sad ending. Seriously, who wants another 14 minutes of France 3-0 Burkina Faso?
Nonetheless, there has been plenty of quality, with most games being fairly competitive outside of England’s 10-0 demolition job on New Caledonia and Mali’s comfortable 3-0 win over Uzbekistan.
The players were picked out pre-tournament did pretty well in matchday one, if we say so ourselves. Anyway, here are the others that stood out, from Indonesia to Venezuela and plenty more…
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