After a long wait, and a brief question mark of whether India will indeed be able to host it, the Fifa Under-17 Women’s World Cup begins on Tuesday.

The Under-17 men’s World Cup was India’s first brush with hosting a Fifa tournament and it saw an Indian team play at a football World Cup for the first time in 2017. For the women too, India 2022 marks the first appearance at a global tournament as the Thomas Dennerby-coached side begin their campaign in Odisha on Tuesday.

India have been drawn in Group A alongside USA, Morocco and Brazil. They will face USA on October 11, followed by Morocco and Brazil on October 14 and October 17, respectively, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

“It’s a new situation for everyone. India have never played the World Cup before. This is different ball game altogether. It’s a unique chance to show everyone that we have prepared well and will not allow anyone to run over us. Everyone wants to play the World Cup, but I can only select the best 21 in the squad,” coach Dennerby said when the squad was announced.

India’s fixtures in Group A:

October 11: Ind vs USA (8 pm IST, Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar).
October 14: Ind vs Morocco (8 pm IST, Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar).
October 17: Brazil vs Ind (8 pm IST, Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar).

Indian squad

The squad of 21 has been trimmed from a total of 33 players who were called up to a camp that assembled in Jamshedpur in April, among which 12 players featured from the side that won the SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship earlier this year.

India will be led by Astam Oraon, who was present in the media conference ahead of the tournament opener.

“The team is excited to play against the USA and finally get the tournament started after training together for 6-7 months,” Oraon said. “[Tuesday] is the day when we have to leave everything on the field. Our full focus is on the matches ahead and nothing else matters to us,” the defender said.

“We have to sleep and rest well today. All the players are feeling strong physically and mentally. We have worked hard on our endurance levels through gym and running sessions. We will give our opponents a good fight tomorrow.”

India squad for Fifa U-17 World Cup 2022 (jersey numbers in brackets):

Goalkeepers: Monalisha Devi Moirangthem (1), Melody Chanu Keisham (13), Anjali Munda (21)

Defenders: Astam Oraon (5, captain), Kajal (20), Naketa (3), Purnima Kumari (2), Varshika (19), Shilky Devi Hemam (4)

Midfielders: Babina Devi Lisham (6), Nitu Linda (17), Shailja (15), Shubhangi Singh (16)

Forwards: Anita Kumari (11), Lynda Kom Serto (9), Neha (7), Rejiya Devi Laishram (18), Shelia Devi Loktongbam (12), Kajol Hubert Dsouza (8), Lavanya Upadhyay (10), Sudha Ankita Tirkey (14)

Head Coach: Thomas Dennerby

Tournament venues

Three Indian cities are hosting the tournament: Navi Mumbai, Goa and Bhubaneswar. DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will host 10 matches consisting of six Group Stage matches, a set of Quarter Finals, third Place match and the Final. The Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa will host 16 matches consisting of 12 Group Stage matches, a set of Quarter-Finals and both the Semi-Finals.

Kalinga Football Stadium in Bhubaneswar will host six Group Stage Matches, including the opening match (and all of India’s group stage matches).

Tournament mascot

Ibha is the official mascot of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022. The Asiatic Lioness’s name has been derived from the Khasi scripture of northeast India, loosely translating to good vision and a feeling of love.

India’s group

The draw for the tournament pitted India with two powerhouses USA and Brazil and fellow tournament debutants in Morocco.

Brazil are competing in their sixth tournament, while USA are making their fifth appearance at the finals of this event. Two superpowers in women’s football, both Brazil and USA are yet to win the trophy.

USA had reached the final in the inaugural edition. USA, in fact, have not played in a match in the knockout phase since losing against Korea DPR in the final in 2008, having exited the competition in the group stage in 2012, 2016 and 2018. They’d be itching to set that record straight in India. The team scored a remarkable total of 58 goals and conceded just once in winning seven out of seven games in their successful campaign at the 2022 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship.

Incidentally, the USA squad features 16-year-old Mia Bhuta, who has her roots in India.

“It is truly special for me to be here. My father was born here in India. He grew up in Rajkot in Gujarat. When he was 16, he came to USA to pursue his passion for tennis and to get better education,” Mia said at the pre-match press conference, reported PTI.

“I have been to India a few times before. My grandparents still live here in India. The Indian culture has influenced me a lot. I am very proud of my heritage.”

Brazil qualified through the 2022 CONMEBOL U-17 Women’s Championship, which they won for a record-breaking fourth time, notching up seven wins from seven games and a remarkable total of 33 goals scored and none conceded.

Morocco will become the first North African team to play in the tournament. They qualified for India 2022 with a 4-2 win on penalties against Ghana after overturning a 2-0 first leg deficit. Ghana had reached at least the quarter-finals at each of the last four U-17 Women’s World Cup final tournaments.

India, of course, qualified for the tournament by virtue of being the hosts.

Read more about the other groups in the tournament here.

Previous tournament winners

Spain are the defending champions, having defeated Mexico in the 2018 final. North Korea have won the tournament twice, while South Korea have won it once. France and Japan are the other previous winners.

via Media Guide

Tournament format

Top two teams from each of the four groups will progress to the quarterfinals. With India in Group A, should they qualify for the knockouts, the quarterfinal match will be in Navi Mumbai, with 1A facing 2B and 2A facing 1B.

The tournament will also feature Video Assistant Referees (VAR) for the first time in a U17 women’s competition.

Coach speak

Here’s what India coach Dennerby had to say ahead of the tournament:


The tournament will be broadcast live in India on the Sports 18 network. Live streaming will be on Voot Select.