Sunday 15 October 2017, 12:33

Group stage full of historic moments

  • Entertaining group stage makes way for Round of 16

  • Several landmarks reached by FIFA tournament debutants

  • An average of 3.5 goals have been scored so far at India 2017

36 of the 52 matches at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 are already behind us, and we now approach the business end of the tournament – the knockout stage. We have just enough time before the Round of 16 gets under way to take a look back at the excitement of the group stages, which featured plenty of highlights and milestones.

Team already eliminated India, New Zealand, Turkey, Guinea, Costa Rica, Korea DPR, New Caledonia, Chile

The Round of 16 matches at a glance 16 October Colombia - Germany Paraguay - USA

17 October Iran - Mexico France - Spain England - Japan Mali - Iraq

18 October Ghana - Niger Brazil - Honduras

The top scorers Amine Gouiri (France) - 5 goals Keito Nakamura (Japan) - 4 Jadon Sancho (England) - 3 (+1 assist)

Historic moments

  • Even if the host nation lost all three of its matches, the passion that both the team and its fans showed will live long in the memory. And at one stage when Jeakson Thounaojam equalised and scored India’s first-ever goal at a FIFA tournament against Colombia, it briefly looked as if they would pick up their first points, only for them to lose the match 2-1. "We have started a process," said India coach Luis Norton de Matos, who believes that they have created an incredible legacy.

  • Another FIFA debutant, New Caledonia, also went out after the group stages, but by then they had celebrated their first two goals and registered a point. Coach Dominique Wacalie spoke afterwards of a "proud moment and a great day for the entire country. This World Cup will catapult football in New Caledonia to a new level."

  • The third set of new boys, Niger, exceeded all expectations by finishing as one of the best third-placed teams. They will now face African rivals Ghana in the Round of 16.

  • The last matchday saw history made in the match between Japan and New Caledonia, with Switzerland’s Esther Staubli becoming the first female referee at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. 16 years ago, the first woman to officiate a men’s match at a FIFA tournament occurred when Im Eunju from Korea Republic took charge of the FIFA U-17 World Cup match between France and USA at Trinidad and Tobago 2001.

Stats in focus 0 - Korea DPR were the only team not to pick up any points or score a goal. This was also the first time at a FIFA U-17 World Cup that the North Koreans had gone out in the group stages.

2 - You do not always need to win, if you want to progress. The Mexicans picked up just two points from their three matches, but crept through to the last 16 without registering a victory.

3.5 - With an average of 3.5 goals (after 36 of the 52 matches), India 2017 is on track to break a goalscoring record. Only 1997 (in Egypt) and 2003 (in Finland) saw a higher average number of goals scored, 3.66 after the 52 matches.

13 - Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao was outstanding for his team in the group stages. He faced 13 shots on goal and let only one of them in, making him the top keeper in the tournament to date.