10 Facts to Know Ahead of the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland
The 2019 U-20 world cup will be kicking off on Thursday in Poland; the tournament will be held between the 23rd of May to the 15th of June.
Here, we look at ten facts about the tournament.
1. Poland will be the first European nation to host the tournament since Turkey hosted it in 2013.
2. Twenty four (24) teams from six (6) confederations will be competing in what will be 22nd edition of the biennial tournament, the teams are :- Poland (host nation), Qatar, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Mali, Mexico, Panama, USA, Honduras, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Italy, Portugal, Ukraine, France and Norway.
3. The venues for the matches will be in six cities, namely:- Lodz (venue for the opening game and the final), Bielsko-Biala, Bydgoszcz, Gdynia, Lublin and Tychy.
4. 504 players (21 from each the 24 participating teams) will compete in the tournament.
5. The competition was formerly known as the FIFA World Youth Championship from its inception in 1977 until it was renamed to U-20 World Cup in 2007.
6. From 1977 to 1995, sixteen(16) teams compete in the tournament, the number of teams was expanded to twenty-four (24) in 1997.
7. The top two teams from each group are to be joined by the best four third-place finishers in the round of 16.
8. Argentina have won the tournament more than any nation with (6) titles, followed by Brazil(5), Portugal(2), Serbia(2), Russia(1), Germany(1), Spain(1), France(1), England(1) and Ghana(1).
NB: Serbia won one of their two titles as Yugoslavia, Russia won it as the Soviet Union. Ghana is the only African country to have won it.
9. The 2019 tournament in Poland will be the 6th consecutive edition where the defending champion has failed to qualify for.
10. The U-20 World Cup has proven over the years as a platform for future superstars to showcase their talent. Players that have played in the tournament include- Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Oscar, Pablo Zabaleta, Adriano, David Trezeguet, John Obi Mikel, Dani Alves, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba, Saviola, Fernando Llorente among others.
Players to watch out for in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup
Some young wonderkids to watch out for in the 2019 U-20 World Cup include:
1. Diego Lainez (Mexico & Real Betis)
2. Erling Braut Håland (Norway & Red Bull Salzburg)
3. Timothy Weah (USA & Paris St. Germain)
4. Tom Dele-Bashiru (Nigeria & Manchester City)
5. Amine Gouiri (France & Olympique Lyon)
6. Keito Nakamura (Japan & Gamba Osaka)
7. Lee Kang-in (South Korea & Valencia CF)
8. Rafael Leão (Portugal & Lille)
9. Diogo Dalot (Italy & Manchester United)
10. Ibrahima Niane (Senegal & Metz)
11. Nicolás Schiappacasse (Uruguay & Athletico Madrid)
12. Andriy Lunin (Ukraine & Real Madrid)