The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is a biennial tournament that takes place every two years since its inception in 2008. North Korea and Spain hold the record for clinching the most titles, having won it two times each.
Post a successful FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship 2002 in Canada, the football’s main governing body proposed a second tier of the youth competition at the under-17 level. However, the plan was met with strong opposition from the continental confederations concerning age limits in place.
Nonetheless, after much contemplation, the inaugural edition of the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup was held in New Zealand in 2008. The competition was held at four venues - North Harbour Stadium, Waikato Stadium, Wellington Stadium and Queen Elizabeth II Park.
The 16-team tournament saw North Korea emerge as the first-ever champions of the Under-17 Women’s World Cup. They defeated fellow heavyweights USA by 2-1 in the final to etch their name in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup winners list. A total of 113 goals were scored during the competition.
The next FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup took place in 2010, with hosts Trinidad and Tobago drawn alongside Nigeria, Chile and defending champions North Korea in Group A. This time out, North Korea lost to Japan in the semis, who in turn finished as runners-up, losing to South Korea in the final.
South Korea’s Yeo Min-ji finished as the top goal scorer with eight goals, winning the golden ball and golden shoe in the process.
Next up in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup winners list is France. In the 2012 edition, the 2010 winners South Korea failed to qualify for the competition. The newly crowned champions France defeated Gambia, Nigeria and Ghana en route to the final.
The final against inaugural champions North Korea was a tight affair, which the French Women won 7-6 on penalties.
The next name on the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup winners list is of Japan. In the 2014 edition hosted by Costa Rica, Japan emerged as champions at the second time of asking, having finished as runners-up in 2010.
Next, North Korea became the winner for the second time in 2016. They were the first nation to win the trophy more than once.
Hosted in Jordan, the tournament saw 2014 winners Japan finish as runners-up after a crunch final, which went to the penalties, where North Koreans won by 7-6.
After a consistent performance at the marquee event, Spain’s name got inducted into the list. Following a couple of third-place finishes and runners-up, Spain clinched the title in the U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018 that took place in Uruguay.
Spain successfully defended the title in the next edition in 2022, hosted by India. The Spain U-17 women's football team defeated Colombia 1-0 in the final.
FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup winners list
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Featured photo: MIGUEL ROJO / AFP