The FIFA Under-17 World Cup kicks off on Friday with New Zealand taking on Turkey in the tournament's opening match. But all eyes will be on the day's second match that sees hosts India, who would be making their FIFA World Cup debut across all age groups, male or female, face USA at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. India might be the underdogs in the tournament but the entire country has come together to wish and pray that the team puts on a good show on such a grand stage.
Wishes poured in for Team India ahead of their opener with cricketers from Virender Sehwag and Mohammad Kaif to other sporting stars like Yogeshwar Dutt, egging the team on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected to be part of the U-17 World Cup's opening day proceedings, tweeted on his official handle, welcoming all the teams and wishing them well.
India qualified automatically for the event as hosts. They have prepared well with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) sending the players for training tours in Europe and to a tournament in Mexico but the home side are the clear underdogs.
Known for its man-to-man marking, USA are the clear favourites in the Group A match at the refurbished Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Most of the American players are part of Major League Soccer (MLS) youth teams and a couple of them are set to play in top European clubs as well.
India would enjoy the home advantage and captain Amarjit Singh and his team-mates have promised to be competitive at the showpiece event.