The World Cup is that event that brings everybody together to watch soccer. But before reaching the professional status first there are the youth leagues, where new stars are born. That why the FIFA U20 World Cup of this year is so important. This, along with other “U” tournaments, along with the Olympic ones, is key to discovering new wonders. Where the likes of Messi, Maradona, Aimar, Özil, Neymar and many others have shined and made their breakthrough.
That’s so that is where Germany tries many of their future players, being this the system that has led them to win the World Cup on Brasil on 2014. Also, this kind of tournaments is where FIFA experiments with many new measures in order to make the game more fair and enjoyable. Besides that one of the surprises of this edition of the U20 World Cup is that counts with many atypical countries regarding football.
This time the 21st edition of the U20 World Cup is being held in South Korea. The 24 qualified teams, including the host, are divided into six groups were the two best of each one proceed to the 16th. This along with the four best third places of each group, in order to complete the remaining slots. Following this way the traditional system held by FIFA in international tournaments.
The teams and groups are Group A, Argentina, England, South Korea (the host) and Guinea. Group B, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, and Vanuatu. In Group C, Zambia, Iran, Portugal and Costa Rica. Group D, Japan, Uruguay, Italy and South Africa. Also, Group E, France, Vietnam, New Zeland, and Honduras. Finally Group F, Senegal, USA, Ecuador, and Saudi Arabia. An important fact to take into consideration is that the last edition’s winners, Serbia, isn’t in the tournament. Since they failed to qualify, becoming the fifth winner of the tournament to do so. Along with a notable absence of Brasil.
New traits and breakthroughs
Some of the best things of the U20 World Cup is to see the breakthroughs, whether it’s from players or from nations. Obviously, some of the favorites are the classic ones. England, Germany, and above all France are expected to make it to the final. Especially as they have many players who have had professional debuts on their clubs. Along with them they’re the usual but tumbling Argentina and Italy. Still, some of the surprises might be Venezuela, who has been a semifinalist in various “U” tournaments. Uruguay and Senegal, who always have incredible players, and the hosts South Korea, who have a great pacy team.
Regarding the new upcoming talents, France is probably the team with a deeper squad. As they count with Jean-Kevin Augustin, Alban Lafont, Martin Terrier, Allan Saint-Maximin, Christopher Nkunku, Lucas Tousart, and Issa Diop. No wonder why they’re favorites. While England has Lewis Cook, Sheyi Ojo, Dominic Solanke, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Adam Armstrong. Argentina’s stars are Santiago Ascacibar, Tomas Conechny, and Lautaro Martinez. Uruguay has Federico Valverde, Nicolas Schiappacasse, Rodrigo Bentancur, Nicolas De La Cruz, and Rodrigo Amaral. Venezuela, the biggest surprise so far, has the attacking power of Adalberto Peñaranda, Yeferson Soteldo, Ronaldo Peña, Yangel Herrera. Then the hosts have Paik Seung-ho and Lee Seung-woo. As for Italy, they have Rolando Mandragora, Federico Dimarco and Riccardo Marchizza. Also, there are Benedikt Gimber (Germany), Ritsu Doan (Japan), Pervis Estupinan (Ecuador), Ibrahima Niane (Senegal) and Brooks Lennon and Luca De La Torre (USA)
New traits and fixtures
The first encounters of the tournament had many surprises. Being probably the biggest one the victory of Venezuela over Germany, 2-0, due to the difference of history and tradition regarding the sport in both countries. Leaving the Latin-American country as leader of his group, being followed by Mexico who beat Vanuatu 3-2. Also, in Group A, a historic unwanted record was granted to Argentina’s prolific striker Lautaro Martinez. Since he became the first ever player to receive a card, a red one, as a result of a decision by a video referee, resulting on his expelled from the match. After he elbowed an England’s defender in their 3-0 loss to the Three Lions.
FIFA is using this tournament to try this system, in order to improve the development of the sport. In the same Group A, South Korea defeated Guinea easily with a 3-0 scoreline. In the next matches, we will see Argentina facing the host, while England, will go against South Korea probably defining the group leader. While on Group B Venezuela will face Vanuatu and Mexico will do so with Germany, leaving the definition of the group until the last date.
More results and upcoming games
On Group C, Zambia gave also a surprise by beating Portugal with a 2-1 result. While Costa Rica lost by 1 goal against Iran. The two winners will face in the next match, while one of the losing teams will try to get back on the fight grasping the 3 points. Group D, probably one of the most difficult ones, had Japan and Uruguay winning by one goal tally, Japan with a 2-1 against the African nation and Uruguay against Italy. The next fixture of Group D will have the same scenario, as Uruguay and Japan fight for the top, Italy with better chances will try to get back in the game.
The last two groups held comfortable 3-0 win for France against a weak Honduras, making them the group’s leader. While a scoreless but heavily fought draw between New Zeland’s Kiwis and Vietnam took place. France’s next match will see them face Vietnam, being “Les Blues” the favorites to bag the 3 points. While New Zeland will do the same with Honduras. In Group F a more interesting 3-3 draw between Ecuador and USA happened. While Senegal climbed to the top of it with a 2-0 victory against Saudi Arabia. The upcoming matches will have Senegal facing USA and Ecuador against Saudi Arabia.