FIFA U-17 World Cup, India set to become best-attended, highest scoring tournament ever

The Indian edition is well on its way to becoming the best-attended and the highest scoring tournament in history.

FIFA under-17 world cup
Representational picture Reuters

India is well on course to becoming a landmark debutant host for the FIFA U-17 World Cup as the twin records of spectator attendance and number of goals scored are set to be re-written in the ongoing edition.

With just 6,000 spectators behind, the current edition is set to get past China as the best-attended FIFA U-17 World Cup, according to Firstpost.

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The second semi-final at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, where Spain defeated Mali 3-1 to set up a final date with England, saw a turnout of 37,487 to take the overall tally to 12,24,027, which is just 6,000 behind the total attendance in what was recorded in the inaugural edition in China,1985.

The 2011 edition in Mexico had also attracted a total of 10,02,314 spectators making it the third place to have more than one million attendance in the tournament history, as per the Hindu.

The attendance for matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 had breached the million mark in the last Round of 16 matches on October 18.

Sixteen teams competed till the 2005 edition in Peru, when the tournament was known as FIFA U-17 World Championships before the number of participating countries increased to 24 from the 2007 edition in South Korea. The number of matches was also increased from 32 to 52 from 2007 onwards.

Understandably, Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium has the highest attendance per match. The venue has so far logged a total of 4,85,693 spectators from nine games, at a staggering average of 53,965 per match. The stadium has a total capacity of 66.600.

The India edition is also set to become the highest scoring tournament with 170 goals from 50 matches so far, just two behind the earlier highest of 172 scored during the 2013 edition in the United Arab Emirates. The number of goals scored per match will be less than that of the 1997 Egypt and 2003 Finland editions when 117 goals were scored from 32 matches at an average of 3.66 goals per match.

The India edition has a goal average of 3.4 per match so far, the best since the tournament format was changed in 2007 to a 24-team affair from the earlier 16-team participation.

According to the Hindu, FIFA president Giani Infantino, who was in Kolkata to chair the FIFA council Meeting on Friday and attend the U-17 World Cup Final, said: "India is a football country now."

Asked about the successful organistion of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the 47-year-old Italian clad in a dark suit said: "Thank you very much all the Indians. That's most important. It's a great pleasure to here."

The FIFA boss is supposed to hand over the glittering U-17 World Cup Trophy to the winners of the summit clash between England and Spain at the Saltlake Stadium on October 28.