The FIFA U-17 World Cup kicks off in India on Friday, with the host nation taking on the USA in New Delhi, and the team’s spirits have been boosted by a message from one of the country’s biggest sports stars.
India cricket captain Virat Kohli made sure to wish the host team’s young stars as they gear up for an unlikely shot at glory.
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) October 2, 2017
Kohli is an ardent football fan and has been actively involved with the sport in the country. The cricket star is a co-owner of Indian Super League side FC Goa and was a brand ambassador for the first season of Premier Futsal.
It’s the first time India have hosted a FIFA event, and fans in the country are hoping their team can use home support to make a long run in the competition, while India’s football federation, the AIFF, is looking to use this tournament as a springboard to bid for the U-20 World Cup and the Club World Cup.
In the meantime, there’s no doubt that the team itself has a star-studded fan base, with Kohli leading the charge.
Germany have overtaken Neymar’s Brazil at the top of the FIFA rankings released Thursday while Gareth Bales’ Wales have moved ahead of England to grab British bragging rights.
Joachim Loew’s Germany lead their World Cup group after victories over the Czech Republic and Norway in September to maintain their unbeaten record in qualifying.
Argentina’s troubled campaign which has left Lionel Messi and his teammates in danger of missing out on Russia 2018 sees them slide to fourth place, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal moving up to third.
Wales meanwhile become the highest-ranked British side after overtaking England to move into 13th place after wins over Moldova and Austria in this month’s qualifying for the World Cup.
England are 15th despite recent victories over Malta and Slovakia.
Higher rankings can mean a kinder draw for next year’s World Cup. FIFA rankings as of September 14:
1. Germany (+1)
2. Brazil (-1)
3. Portugal (+3)
4. Argentina (-1)
5. Belgium (+4)
6. Poland (-1)
7. Switzerland (-3)
8. France (+2)
9. Chile (-2)
10. Colombia (-2)
11. Spain (0)
12. Peru (+3)
13. Wales (+5)
14. Mexico (0)
15. England (-2)
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) September 14, 2017
Provided by AFP Sport
While the extravagant nature of spending in today’s game has perhaps gone too far, on Tuesday night, we were all reminded that the beautiful game as we love to know it is still alive and well.
In what was one of the feel-good stories of the year, Syria kept their World Cup dreams alive with a dramatic late 2-2 draw against Iran.
An equalising goal from Omar Al Soma secured a valuable point that moved the Arabic country ahead of Uzbekistan and into a third spot play-off berth in the Group A Asia qualifying table.
The Arab nation, who have been playing their home fixtures in Malaysia, will now face Australia in a two-legged qualifying clash next month.
Should they get past the team from down under, Syria would then play a fourth-placed CONCACAF team – in another two-tie contest – marking their final hurdle to qualification.