Meet New Caledonia, the whipping boys of the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup

Tiny Pacific Island nation New Caledonia have a population of just around 270,000 but that did not stop them from reaching the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia. Their performance at the tournament so far has been expected, given the caliber of their opponents.

After finishing second in the OFC U-17 tournament behind New Zealand, New Caledonia qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. They were drawn against England, Brazil and Iran in Group C as they made a return to the tournament for only the second time ever, and the first time since 2017.

New Caledonia were given a harsh welcome to the tournament with a 10-0 humbling at the hands of tournament favorites England in their opening match. They finished the game with ten men after captain Nolhann Alebate was sent off for violent conduct.

Brazil followed up the defeat with another 9-0 humbling of the Islanders in their second match. The South American giants struck 81 shots in the encounter, with 23 of them being on target.

New Caledonia aim to at least equal the tally of one point they gained in the group stage in 2017, and will try to do so when they face Iran in their final group match. Whatever happens in that match, they have given their best in the competition and would leave better than they came into it.

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