FIFA U-17 World Cup is underway and it is being held in India! The official slogan of FIFA U-17 World Cup is “Football takes over” and from the looks of it, it certainly has. This is India’s first FIFA World Cup both played and hosted and there were certainly no hopes for our team to make it past the group stage.
The city of Delhi is known to be indifferent towards football as seen from past ISL matches held here. But it was different for the World Cup. The stadium was packed with supporters for the home team even when India lost their first match by 0-3 (United States) and final match 0-4 (Ghana).
Almost all of the people in the stands stayed back for as long as they could, even after the final whistle, cheering the maiden FIFA tournament of the Indian team. The atmosphere was nothing like many expected.
The Indian audience actually cheered their losing team and booed the opposition team in whatever chance they could get. When Jeakson Singh, the first Indian to score a FIFA goal, was charging towards the goal in the second match against Colombia, the entire crowd went berserk.
The stadium was packed even when it wasn’t the home team’s match. On Thursday, when Mali took New Zealand, the sparsely populated stadium slowly grew in numbers and the noise levels also increased exponentially. As Mali took control of the match, the stadium cheered for them whenever they got forward.
The crowd at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, showed that India is ready for Football and would gradually become the best in the world for this sport as well. The final recorded attendance for the India vs Ghana match at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was 52,416 and this shows that Delhi is no longer indifferent to Indian football, but welcomes it with open arms.