The FIFA U-17 World Cup kick-starts from October 6th, with India hosting a tournament of this magnitude for the first time ever. With India's U17 team gaining automatic qualification, this will also mark the debut of India in the final round of a FIFA World Cup.
It certainly is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Cubs in Blue who will rub shoulders with the future stars of world football.
The U-17 World Cup has been the platform of gifting the world some of the finest footballers in history. This makes it even more special for a country like India who until now did not feature in the world map of the beautiful game.
A total of 52 games will be played in the tournament in six venues across the country.
As the U-17 World Cup fever rises, Goal gives you a sneak peek into the six stadia where the matches will be played.
Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK)
Popularly known as the Salt Lake Stadium, this is the biggest stadium in India. The stadium is the home of several city-based clubs but most notably, I-League giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan and Indian Super League side Atletico de Kolkata. It has been refurbished recently for the U-17 World Cup. The arena has witnessed several big matches which include legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn's farewell in which Bayern Munich played against Mohun Bagan. Football greats like Diego Maradona, Roger Milla, Diego Forlan has stepped on the turf of this iconic stadium.
The Salt Lake stadium is rich in history and is worthy of hosting the final of a FIFA tournament. Not surprisingly, FIFA selected Kolkata to host the grand final. Apart from that, Group F games, the losers' final and one quarterfinal match will be held at this venue.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Delhi)
City: New Delhi
One of the finest stadiums India is located in the national capital. The stadium was built to cater to the Commonwealth Games which was held in the city in 2010. It is the home stadium of Indian Super League side Delhi Dynamos as well. The most memorable match played at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium was Indian football icon Bhaichung's Bhutia's farewell game in which the Indian football team locked horns against European giants Bayern Munich in 2012. The stadium is set to host the Group B matches and two round of 16 games of the World Cup.
DY Patil Stadium
This stadium was originally constructed for cricket matches. It has remained the home ground of Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians and has hosted several international games as well. In 2014 though, football took over the gentleman's game when Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC chose it as their home ground. The arena hosted the ISL 2014 final played between Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters which the former won.
The amenities at the DY Patil stadium are nothing short of world class with the FIFA inspection team expressing their immense satisfaction with the stadium earlier. The tournament's Group A matches will be played here along with a round of 16 game and a semifinal clash. DY Patil stadium has been assigned a total of 8 matches.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Goa)
Famously known as the Fatorda Stadium, this is one of the the most iconic football stadiums in Goa. This ground has been home to several top I-League sides like Dempo SC, Churchill Brothers, Salgaocar SC, Vasco SC and of course Indian Super League side FC Goa. The Fatorda stadium has witnessed several international matches of the Indian football team as well. Another major event that took place in this stadium was the Lusofonia Games in 2014.
One can expect the Fatorda to be packed with knowledgeable fans once the extravaganza kicks off on October. Group C matches will be held in this stadium apart from a round of 16 fixture and a quarterfinal clash. A total of eight matches will be played in this stadium.
Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium
This stadium is also known as Sarusajai stadium and is situated right at the heart of the city. It serves as the home ground of Indian Super League (ISL) side NorthEast United FC. The Indian football team have played matches here against Malaysia, Nepal in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers and an Asian Cup 2019 qualifier match against Laos where they had won 6-1. Though the capacity is only 25000, the ISL games here have seen packed crowds and the U17 World Cup should expect no less.
Guwahati will be hosting the matches in Group E and a round of 16, a quarterfinal and a semifinal match as well. A total of 9 games will be played in the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Kochi)
Also known as the Kaloor International Stadium, this is one of the biggest stadiums in India. This stadium plays host to both cricket and football. The Indian cricket team has played several international matches here. Former I-League side FC Kochin, which was Kerala's first-ever professional football club, played their home matches here for a long time. Since 2014, Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters have made this stadium their home. Known for its passionate and vociferous fans, the stadium experience at Kochi is surely something to cherish.
The Kaloor stadium will host the matches of Group D and a round of 16 and a quarterfinal clash each. A total of 8 matches will be played in this ground.