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FIFA U-17 World Cup: The only title that Spain are missing

FIFA U-17 World Cup: The only title that Spain are missing

We've got a huge game coming up in India this afternoon: the final of the U-17 World Cup, which pits our youngsters against England's. It is, to a certain extent, an unusual pairing, because the countries from Sub-Saharan Africa have tended to dominate at this level. Both as a result of their swifter physical development, something that's part of their natural make-up and gives them an advantage, and because, now and again, that has perhaps been allied with the doctoring of paperwork to sneak in lads older than the maximum age. Since FIFA introduced wrist scans to ascertain a player's age with sufficient accuracy, though, such suspicions are a thing of the past. Anyway, this is the first final between two European nations, and both have reached the trophy decider in sparkling fashion.

First all-European final a repeat of May's continental title decider

This is the only World Cup or European Championship that Spain have never won. They have at least one of the rest to their name, at every level. That may seem like a weight on these young lads' shoulders, but they have one thing working in their favour: they've already contested a final against the same group of English players, and won it - albeit on penalties. That came in the U-17 Euros five months ago. 20 of today's 22 expected starters lined up that evening in Croatia. The exceptions are Spain's injured midfielder Jandro Orellana and England winger Jadon Sancho, a phenomenal talent whose club, Borussia Dortmund, ordered him back to Germany midway through the tournament as they did not want to be without him for a longer period of time. Spain owe the Bundesliga outfit a debt of gratitude.

Watch out for England's Brewster, Foden and McEachran

One man who will be out there is Abel Ruiz, whose six goals mean he's battling for the Golden Boot. He spearheads an attack in which Fran Torres, César Gelabert and Sergio Gómez are the creators-in-chief. In the England side, the headline threat is Rhian Brewster - Ruiz must overhaul his seven goals in India to finish as top scorer - although Philip Foden and George McEachran are of equal concern. England have been producing some fine talent for a little while now. Going forward, the Young Lions are a terrific side; less so defensively, where they've offered evidence that they're not such a strong unit. Their keeper and centre-backs aren't all that. Kolkata is the venue for the final, and a capacity crowd is anticipated. Football's getting bigger and bigger in India. A cracking match is in store.