Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 31 (ANI): FIFA president Gianni Infantino has complimented India for hosting the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup event successfully.
FIFA President Infantino was felicitated by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), in the presence of AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey, vice president NA Haris, secretary general Dr Shaji Prabhakaran, treasurer Kipa Ajay, along with the members of the AIFF executive committee and state association representatives, and technical committee ahead of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup final in Navi Mumbai on Sunday, October 30, 2022.
Infantino interacted with representatives from the state associations and complimented India for being gracious hosts of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
"India has been a fantastic host. This makes me believe that you can do more in other competitions as well. In the meantime, there can be only one world champion, but there are 210 countries that are not champions. However, I always say that all 211 countries win in the end. Football brings smiles to every little girl and boy in the world. When children play or watch football, they smile," said the FIFA President as per an AIFF release.
Infantino informed the gathering that he would be back in India early next year.
"We were just in a meeting with Chaubey. Grassroots is an important area that we need to start pushing from and build from there. There are also things like how we can professionalize women's competitions, and we have to strengthen the leagues to promote Indian Football," said the FIFA President.
He also spoke about FIFA's operations in India. He said, "You can count on FIFA to beef up our office here in India. We will work together on various things. India is a big country, a great country. There's a lot to offer for both Indians in India and worldwide. I believe in potential India has."
The FIFA President said that India is one of the countries that FIFA has high on its list for the popularisation of football.
"I spoke about India in the FIFA Congress as the sleeping giants of football. Now, it's time for India to wake up. Whenever I come to India, I see a lot of passion for sports. Our ultimate objective is to make football global, and India, along with USA and China are the three countries that are priority for us. To globalize football, we need to make India one of the top countries in the world."
An unfortunate own goal from Ana Guzman helped Spain defeat Colombia by 1-0 to lift their second FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup title in the final at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.
The match was an intense one between both sides, but it seemed to head nowhere with both sides not having scored even a single goal despite the best of their efforts. However, in the 82nd minute of the match, Guzman ended up harming her side with an unfortunate own goal, which gave Spain the lead and the title.
With this, Spain has successfully defended its title, which it won back in 2018. It has also tied North Korea as the event's most successful team with two titles, as per Olympics.com.
Nigeria, Colombia, Spain, and Germany qualified for the semifinal. Colombia won the first semifinal against Nigeria 6-5 after penalties after ending the full-time goalless. Spain won the second semifinal match by handing a 1-0 defeat to Germany.
After Nigeria and Germany leveled things 3-3 in the full-time of the third-place match, it won the match via penalties by 3-2.
The tournament was hosted by India, for the first time ever from October 11 to October 30. It was initially scheduled for 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in its postponement.
16 teams from across the world, divided into four groups of four teams each fought for the trophy across three venues: Kalinga Stadium (Bhubaneswar, Odisha), Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Margao, Goa) and DY Patil Stadium (Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra) and 32 matches were played as a part of the tournament.
India made their debut in the tournament after qualifying as hosts and was knocked out in the group stage after losses to USA, Morocco and Brazil in Group A. (ANI)