Having developed a reputation as a hospitable nation of football lovers thanks in no small part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup TM, the republic of Korea can expect another memorable tournament this year. The fields of teams taking part points towards entertaining matches with goals galore. Perhaps even the scoring records of 1997 and 2003, when the event produced 3.66 goals per match, can be beaten. And may be an Asian team will be able to emulate Saudi Arabia’s exploits in 1989 and become the continent’s second ever U-17 world champions. While Japan as the winners of the Asian qualifiers may seem to most likely contenders, a strong squad from the host nation also poses a threat.
Among the outsiders are DPR Korea, who in yet another example of the unifying force of the beautiful game were able to prepare for the tournament on the South Korean island of Jeju thanks to financial support from their neighbours.