edition of the under 20 football showpiece gets underway in Poland on the 23rd
of May 2019. All expectations are that either France, Argentina, Portugal or Italy will get to lift the silverware… but there’s no way of predicting which team will endure to claim the kudos at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup
Before we jump ahead of ourselves let’s take a brief look at the tournament, the qualifying teams and which players could make an impact.
What is the Under-20 FIFA World Cup?
The junior World Cup competition was first established in 1977 and is contested every two years. It’s the breeding grounds for the FIFA World Cup ‘grand finale’ where the likes of Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Xavi and Franz Beckenbauer have re-written the history books.
Which teams have qualified for the 2019 U-20 FIFA World Cup?
This year 24 teams will battle it out for guts and glory. Along with hosts, Poland – five teams from Europe will strut their stuff; France, Italy, Norway, Ukraine and Portugal.
The traditionally strong South American contingent is represented by Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay. Four-time champions Brazil are noticeable in their absence.
On the other side of the American continent, Honduras, Panama, Mexico and the USA are the CONCACAF qualifiers. Asia is represented by Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, while New Zealand and Tahiti are flying the Oceania flag on high.
That leaves CAF qualifiers Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa - teams that’ll be dying to emulate Ghana as the one and only African nation to claim the Cup.
If that happens, fans from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt - with Nairobi in Kenya sandwiched in-between - will rise to their feet!
What is the structure of the tournament?
The 24 qualifying teams are separated into six groups of four teams. Each team plays against each other. The teams that finish in the top two of each group, along with the four third-placed teams with the most points progress to the round of 16.
Which of the qualifying teams has already won the Under-20 World Cup?
Argentina, France and Portugal are the only teams in this year’s batch to have lifted the Under-20 World Cup. With a record five titles the South Americans are the most successful competitors to date. Portugal has two back-to-back titles and France has claimed the cup on one occasion.
2019 U-20 FIFA World Cup: Which Players to Watch
According to football pundits there are a few impact players who can influence the outcome of the tournament… provided they’re fully fit and in excellent form.
Argentine defender Nehuen Perez
is renowned for his aggressive defence and strength on the ball. If all things go according to plan the youngster is expected to be a line of defence opponents will find extraordinarily difficult to breach. Can Perez display the skills that caught the eye of Atletico Madrid?
is the cog in Mexico’s attacking engine. He’s fast, strong and agile and when at his blistering best, the gifted attacking midfielder - who plays club football for Real Betis in Span - is almost impossible to stop. Will Lainez rack up the goals for his team?
has had a taste of the big league with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. The fearless centre-back is key to the French defence. He’s imposing, aggressive and has all the technical skills to match. Is Zagadou the man to rely on when things get tough in the latter stages of the tournament?
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