The USA kicks off the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Al Zarqa, Jordan, when it takes on Paraguay at 11:55 a.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Sports GO app, FOXSportsGo.com and FOXSoccer2GO.com. Fans can enter a free promo code to watch the games on the FOXSoccer2GO.com registration page when prompted. The promo code is “U17WNT” and can be activated from Sept. 30-Oct. 31 (Complete broadcast schedule). Fans can also follow all the matches of the U.S. U-17 WNT on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt. For full coverage, visit the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup tournament page on ussoccer.com.
Here are five things to know about the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team and the U-17 Women’s World Cup:
A Historic Host
Jordan, which encompasses roughly the same square miles as the state of Indiana, will host the tournament in four venues, two in Amman, one in Irbid, which is about 60 miles north of Amman, and one in Al Zarqa, which is just 15 miles northeast of Amman. The USA will open the tournament at the 12,000-seat Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa. Amman International Stadium, which seats 13,000, will host the Third Place match on Oct. 20 and World Cup Final on Oct. 21. The event marks the first time in history a FIFA women’s competition is being held in the Middle East.
USA’s Path to the Top Begins in Group D
The USA opens the tournament against South America third-place finisher Paraguay in what will be the second meeting between the nations in U-17 Women’s World Cup play. The two countries met in the second group match at the 2008 tournament in New Zealand with the USA prevailing 3-1 after going down a goal. The meeting with Ghana will be the first between these two countries in this tournament, but second against an African team for the USA in FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup play. The USA defeated Gambia, 6-0, in group play at the 2012 tournament. The Americans will finish group play against Japan, which finished second behind Korea DPR in the 2015 AFC U-16 Women's Championship. Japan won this tournament two years ago in Costa Rica, defeating Spain 2-0 in the title match. These will be the first matches by any U.S. Women’s National Team in Jordan and the first matches by any U.S. Women’s National Team in the Middle East.
Of the four total tournaments that have been held, an Asian country has been crowned champion in three out of four occasions, with Korea DPR winning the U-17 World Cup in 2008, Korea Republic in 2010 and Japan in 2014. France is the only exception, taking the title in 2012, but only after defeating Korea DPR in penalty kicks. Teams from the same confederation have met in the final match just once and it was the AFC which holds the honor, with Korea Republic playing Japan in the 2010 U-17 WWC Final.
U.S. History at the U-17 Women’s World Cup
The tournament will mark the third appearance by the USA at a U-17 Women’s World Cup (2008, 2012, 2016). The USA returns to the biggest stage for U-17 women’s soccer after failing to qualify for the tournament in 2010 and 2014, despite outscoring opponents 62-1 over the course of both of the prerequisite CONCACAF qualifying tournaments. The U.S. has never won the tournament, though it did reach the U-17 WWC Final in 2008, falling to Korea DPR, 2-1 in extra time.
The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which is staged every two years, features 16 nations divided into four groups of four teams each. At the U-17 level, each confederation (outside of the smallest Oceania) gets three berths to the World Cup tournament. Eleven countries return from the 2014 tournament, which includes defending champion Japan. In Costa Rica in 2014 the final match was decided in regular time for the first time. Extra time was played in the final matches of both 2008 and 2010, the latter tournament also having to go to a penalty shootout. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinal stage on Oct. 12 and 13. The semifinals will take place Monday, Oct. 17, and the Final and third-place matches will be held on Friday, Oct. 21.