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India need defensive discipline, improved finishing in U-16 quarter-finals

India held Indonesia to a draw in their final game to reach the last eight of the U-16 Championships for the first time since 2002.
India held Indonesia to a draw in their final game to reach the last eight of the U-16 Championships for the first time since 2002.

India are through to the quarterfinals of the AFC U-16 Championships in Malaysia, following a goalless draw with Indonesia in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. This will be their first appearance at the last eight of this event, a qualification for the U-17 World Cup in Peru in 2019, since 2002.

While they have put in spirited efforts in all three group games, their maturity will be stretched in the quarterfinal, where they are likely to face in-form South Korea on Monday in order to qualify for the U-17...

Why you should care about the Under-16 Championships

The four semi-finalists from the U-16 Championships will qualify for the 2019 U17 World Cup in Peru.
The four semi-finalists from the U-16 Championships will qualify for the 2019 U17 World Cup in Peru.

Almost a year since India's FIFA debut at the U-17 World Cup, their successors will eye qualification for the 2019 edition in Peru, when they start their AFC U-16 Championships campaign against Vietnam in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

What's at stake?

The other two teams in India's Group C are 2016 AFC U-16 runners-up Iran and Indonesia, and India must finish in the top four of the 16-team tournament to qualify as one of the Asian Football Confederation teams for the U-17 World Cup next year.

India...

ESPN FC  By ESPN

FIFA dismisses racist abuse claim made by England U17 player after probe

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Morgan Gibbs-White
It was claimed Morgan Gibbs-White was racially abused during England's Under-17 World Cup final against Spain.

FIFA's willingness to prosecute racism complaints at the World Cup in Russia was questioned by activists on Thursday after the governing body dropped a case from the Under-17 World Cup without taking action.

England striker Rhian Brewster reported overhearing teammate Morgan Gibbs-White being called a "monkey" by a Spanish opponent during their team's 5-2 victory in India last October.

FIFA's disciplinary panel concluded there was a "lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English...

FIFA considering merging men's, women's U17, U20 World Cups

England might be the first and last team to be holders of the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups.

FIFA is looking to merge the tournaments won last year by English youth players to create a 48-team competition, emulating the expansion of the main World Cup. Officials are exploring the merits of an age cut-off at 18 or 19.

The women's youth tournaments could also be combined to create a single 24-team event under plans that were considered in a meeting of the governing body's competition committee...

To grow football, play more football

It's been an eventful week since the completion of the U-17 World Cup, the first FIFA event hosted by the Indian subcontinent. While the headlines since then have been dominated by the court ruling that removed All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel from his post, there's a need to look beyond the immediate and see what the World Cup did for India and where Indian football can go from here.

So can the World Cup make a difference?

'The passion (for football) is growing; the access to the sport on TV is growing.'
'The passion (for football) is growing; the access to the sport on TV is growing.'

Santosh Desai, columnist and CEO of Future Brands...