Brazil find themselves in an interesting foursome as they seek to deal with the pressure of playing at home and a disappointing showing at this year’s South American U-17 Championship. Opponents Canada arrive as CONCACAF semi-finalists with an exciting group of young players, while New Zealand are the reigning Oceania champions. Angola, for their part, are the only African side making their debut this year after their best ever performance at the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations.
Nigeria, the most successful team in the competition’s history, did not have their best qualifying campaign and will face a determined Hungary side returning to the competition after a 34-year absence. Also in this section are Ecuador, who played some fine attacking football during their regional qualifiers, and Australia, who recovered from a poor start in Asian qualifying to reach the semi-finals and claim a spot in Brazil.
Two-time asian champions Korea Republic will begin their campaign against surprise finalists Haiti, who performed admirably during CONCACAF qualifying to reach only their second U-17 World Cup. With a very promising generation of players to choose from, France look like a potent rival for anyone, while Chile showed their mettle in the South American Championship, where only goal difference denied them top spot.