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FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 Team Profile: All you need to know about Spain

Goal.com logo Goal.com 28-06-2017

India is all set to welcome countries from around the world to compete in the most prized trophy at the U-17 level- the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The tournament will feature 24 nations and will kick off in October this year. As the count down towards the biggest football extravaganza hosted by India begins, we profile each particiant. And in this edition, we introduce you to the current champions of Europe - Spain.

INTRODUCTION: La Furia Roja

Country: Spain

Confederation: UEFA (Europe) Nicknames: La Furia Roja, La Rojita

Style of play: Tiki-Taka Coach: Santi Denia

Spanish football teams are famous for the style of football they practice throughout their ranks. Whether it is their senior men's national team or the U-17 youth team, the football philosophy remains the same.

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Although Spain is a nation that has enjoyed success in the world of football, the U-17 teams from the country haven't really shown up in FIFA World Cup tournaments.

It is telling that this year's edition of the U-17 World Cup will be Spain's re-entry to the World Cup, after a third place finish 8 years ago, in 2009. They failed to qualify in 2011,2013 and 2015. So how exactly did they qualify this time around? By winning the European U-17 championship in May!

A PEEK INTO THE PAST

In May, Spain defeated England (4-1 on penalties) in the final to be crowned winners of the EURO U-17 tournament. It was their third European crown after consecutive victories in 2007 and 2008.

Before the existence of the U-17 tournament, La Furia Roja youth were six-time winners of the U-16 edition but such European dominance could not be transferred onto a global scale.

Also Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: All you need to know about Brazil U17 team

Spain has failed to get hold of the World Cup trophy three times in the past - ending the FIFA tournament as runners up in 1991, 2003 and 2007. In 2009, they failed to make it to the final and ended up in third place.

The talented youngsters from Spain missed out on qualification for the next three editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup but with a European crown already in the bag, they have the chance to go one step further and win the mega-event later this year.

ROAD TO THE WORLD CUP

Spain won the Euro U-17 championship in May to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. Being European champions meant that they recieved automatic top seeded qualification which will reflect in the official draw set to take place on July 7.

La Furia Roja topped their group in the tournament to set up knockout ties with France, Germany and England in the final. They defeated France 3-1 in the quarter final but the semi final against Germany and final against England were close affairs, with the eventual winners claiming victory on penalty shoot-outs on both occasions.

England, Turkey, Germany and France are the other UEFA nations who have qualified along with Spain for the U-17 World Cup.

Also Read | FIFA U-17 World Cup: A sneak peek into all six venues

TEAM COACH AND STYLE OF PLAY

Spain U-17 team is coached by former Atletico Madrid player Santi Denia. The former central defender has been the coach of Spain youth teams since 2010. He has also managed Atletico Madrid in the past, albeit in a diminished role as caretaker manager.

As with the rest of the Spanish representations at the International level, the La Furia Roja youth team also follows the world renowned 'tiki-taka' style of football. The prime focus is on monopolizing the ball and poking the opponent's defensive wall using short and quick passes in triangles or channels.

Although Santi Denia has fielded several formations on the field, the prime focus has been on 4-3-3 and 4-3-2-1 and that is how Spain is expected to line up at the World Cup in October.

THE DANGER MAN - PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR

Spain has a reputation for churning out great talents year after year and the FIFA U-17 World Cup this year will be no different when it comes to revelations. Barcelona's youth team player Abel Ruiz is one such wonderkid.

Ruiz is an attacking player who has cemented his place up front in the Barcelona youth team and was one of the La Masia talents courted by top premier league clubs like Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea.

The 17-year old, who racked up a record 16 goals in the recently concluded EURO U-17 competition (including goals scored in qualification rounds), is considered as one of the most exciting talents in the country and will be the main man to watch out for when Spain kick off their U-17 World Cup journey in October.

Follow Nisanth V Easwar on Twitter - @niktheblue94

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