Alexia Putellas, Alexandra Popp, and more: Players who rose to fame after playing the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Ahead of the seventh edition of the Women’s Under-17 World Cup, we take a look at some of the present-day stars who excelled in previous U-17 World Cups.

Alexia Putellas has been in excellent goalscoring form for Barcelona in the last two years.

Alexia Putellas has been in excellent goalscoring form for Barcelona in the last two years. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Ahead of the seventh edition of the Women’s Under-17 World Cup, we take a look at some of the present-day stars who excelled in previous U-17 World Cups.

Ahead of the seventh edition of the Women’s Under-17 World Cup, we take a look at some of the present-day stars who excelled in previous U-17 World Cups.

Alexia Putellas — Spain

The Spanish midfielder has been the heart of the Barcelona Femeni team that dominated the Primera Division in the last two seasons.

Putellas first grabbed the limelight in 2010 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in which Spain took third place. She scored three goals and was the joint top-scorer for her side. She eventually played in the U-19 circuit and then the senior side. Orchestrating Barcelona’s style of play, Alexia Putellas won the treble in 2020-21 with her team. She was declared the UEFA Player of the Year and won the Ballon D’Or.

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Putellas’ numbers were even better in the next season. She scored 18 goals and assisted another 15 as Barcelona plundered 159 goals in the league in 2021-22. Though the side lost 1-3 in the final to Lyon, Putellas ended up as the top scorer of the season with 11 goals.

A year-long injury did not allow her to feature in this year’s Women’s Euro.

Alexandra Popp — Germany

The German football team captain broke onto the world stage with her appearance at the 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup where Germany ended in third place. Popp managed to get on the scoresheet on two occasions. It took little time for Popp to gain her place in the senior team as she got her maiden national call-up in 2010.

Popp moved to Wolfsburg in 2012 and has been with the club ever since, winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2013 and 2014. She scored 87 goals for the club in 177 appearances. For her goal-scoring ability, Popp was named the German Player of the Year in 2014 and 2016. A gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics was another feather in her cap.

She most recently participated in Euro 2022 where she scored six goals, including two in the semifinal against France.

Dzsenifer Marozsan — Germany

A contemporary of Popp, Marozsan has tasted success for as long as she has played.

The midfielder won the golden boot at the 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup for her six goals. She was awarded the silver ball as well.

Marozsan was selected in Germany’s senior set-up in 2010, and by 2013, she was a regular. A member of the team that won the Women’s Euro in 2013, she scored the winner in the semifinal against Sweden. In 2016, she was the captain of the German team that won the Olympic gold medal after 40 years.

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Her illustrious record continues in club football as well.

Marozsan won six UEFA Women’s Champions League titles, the first of them with Frankfurt in 2014-15. The midfielder then moved to Olympique Lyon, the best team in Europe from 2016 to 2020. She won another Champions League in 2021-22 but missed the final due to a knee injury.

Jordan Nobbs — England

Another star from the Class of 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup, Jordan Nobbs has seen a storied career.

Nobbs finished fourth with England at the 2008 World Cup. The following year, the defensive midfielder was a part of the U-19 team that clinched the Women’s Euro. In 2010, Nobbs was awarded the FA Player of the Year award for her performance with Sunderland. The same year, she signed for Arsenal, and the rest is history.

She has made over 250 appearances for Arsenal, winning three Women’s Super League titles and four FA Women’s Cups. Despite being a defensive midfielder, Nobbs is known for her goal-scoring abilities. Since 2016-17, Nobbs has scored 26 goals for Arsenal in 75 appearances across all competitions.

Sadly, as she is prone to injury, Nobbs missed the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the 2020 Olympics, and Women’s Euro earlier this year.

Mana Iwabuchi — Japan

Iwabuchi has been one of the flag-bearers of Asian football in Europe. She won the golden ball at the 2008 U-17 World Cup as Japan fired 19 goals in its four matches in the tournament. The team lost to England in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinal.

But Iwabuchi won hearts. Her performance was enough to win the Asian Young Footballer of the Year award in 2008 and 2009.

In 2011, when she was just 18 years old, Iwabuchi was a part of Japan’s World Cup winning team. In her 85 caps with the national side, she has scored 37 goals. Other accolades include a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and a gold at the 2018 Asian Games.

Iwabuchi’s flair compelled European teams to approach her. She started out with Hoffenheim but moved to Bayern Munich two years later. Here, the Japanese stalwart won two successive Frauen Bundesliga titles, the first of which was the side’s first title in nearly four decades.

After a four-year spell at home, Iwabuchi returned to Europe with Aston Villa. She currently plays for Arsenal..

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