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Under-20 World Cup

U.S. Under-20s drawn with Spain and France for World Cup

U20 USA vs Mexico

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

The United States will have to advance from a very difficult group at this summer’s Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

In Monday afternoon’s World Cup draw, the U.S. were placed in Group A, where they’ll face European powers Spain, France, and a still to be determined African country. The African contestant will be determined when the African U-20 Championship finishes on March 30. Egypt, Nigeria, Mali, and Ghana earned the four qualification spots from Africa.

France and Spain both qualified to the World Cup by their top six finishes at the 2012 UEFA U-19 Championship, with Spain taking home the title in a 1-0 win against Greece. Spain made it to the final after defeating France 4-2 on penalties, with the score leveled 3-3 after extra time.

The United States are back in the U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2009, having been knocked out by Guatemala in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in 2011. In the 2013 edition, the U.S. took second place, losing to Mexico in the final 3-1 after extra time.

What do you make of the news? Do you like the U.S.’s chances of getting out of their group? Who is your favorite to win the tournament?

Share your thoughts below.

47 comments
      • Samurai

        I expected them to get a more manageable group (like Mexico). They can still advance, but France and Spain have very experienced talent, it will be difficult. The Americans cannot sleep on the African teams either.

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    • Josh D

      Of course. However, it also depends who the African team is. At that level, power and speed can dominate teams that try to play too technical.

      It also depends on our injuries. We potentially have a lot to deal with. And if Brooks joins in on the fun.

      Either way, I’d prefer a hard group stage. Helps turn the boys into men!

      Like

      • Samurai

        Indeed, I like the hard draw that they received. We do not know what will happen until the games are played, so they could suprise.

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      • The Imperative Voice

        At that level? I’ve seen it done to the USMNT when we get too technically cute with lineups, eg, Panama first game Gold Cup 2011, Jamaica right before Germany 2006. It’s ultimately a running game and you have to be able to get past the other team somehow. If the other team is more athletic and still pretty technical and you’ve over-estimated your technical savvy, that’s the definition of many a long World Cup day for “established” teams. Cameroon v. England, on and on. You will be run out of the gym.

        Like

    • atd

      Remember, four of the six third-place teams qualify. It’s really just a matter of winning one game and keeping the GD down in the others. It’ll be difficult, but by no means is it impossible.

      Like

  • Neil

    I think we all know the AFC representative will be Ghana. Might as well get the youngsters used to losing to Ghana early.

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    • CplDaniel

      Lite chuckle. Ieems to happen every four years. But at least last time around, Ghana needed extra-time, and the US roster was more spent than it should have needed to be from it’s last match to get out of the group-stage because of a bad ref costing the USA it’s deserved win (and 3-pts) in game two against Slovenia.

      Like

      • The Imperative Voice

        I generally like Clark, but the reality is that he shouldn’t have started that game, and Bradley’s poor decision there spiraled into everything else, we needed a goal late, had no subs left to change our fate. We had improved in four years but in that tight a game with that athletic a team you need to be able to save 1-2 guys with some speed and fitness to change things late, we couldn’t. Done deal.

        Like

  • Maykol

    We got the hardest group of all the concacaf teams, and it seems like mexico got the easiest, well not easiest, but least difficult. But who knows, we will have to see how everything plays out.

    Like

    • downintexas

      We’ve got some legit players. However if you look at previous u20 world cups, it is funny which current national team members didn’t get a call up or played off the bench and those who started at the u20 WC you never hear from again.

      Like

  • ChiTown

    Well, we probably aren’t advancing, but this is invaluable experience these boys need.

    Like

  • Husky

    ——————Villareal———————-
    Salgado———————————Joya
    ———————Gil————————-
    ———Hurzeler——Pelosi—————
    Cunningham———————–Yedlin
    —-Anthony-Brooks–Zimmerman—–
    ——————Cropper——————–

    I believe all these players are eligible? I know a few of them are coming off long term injuries, and a couple have yet to commit to the USA, but still… Looks good on paper.

    Like

      • Husky

        True. I was back and forth between him and Salgado. I suppose Cuevas has more chemistry with the other attackers from qualifying.

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      • beto

        Jon Anthony Brooks is one person, not two guys named Anthony and Brooks, but close one! I took a double take on that.

        not a bad line up.

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    • bottlcaps

      Jack McBean is also eligible, He didn’t make the cut for the WCQ, it was understood that the Galaxy needed him for the CCL ( He is the third leading scorer in that competition by the way) If you saw McBean play against the CA club teams. he was excellent. If you saw him against Colorado this weekend, he didn’t score, as neither did Villarreal, he was really good and you can see the synergy and how well these guys are playing.

      By the time the u20 roll around, it’s possible that both Villarreal and McBean will have considerable playing time up top together for the Galaxy. IThere will be some tough choices for Ramos.

      Like

    • chris

      Hurzeler will not play for this team and Brooks isnt close to commiting as you want to believe. Salgado wont start at LF on this team either, still hurt and just not good enough to play out of shape

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    • Alex

      Correct me if I’m wrong – I have very little knowledge of the U-20 team this cycle – but isn’t Villareal more of a midfielder? Also, aren’t Pelosi and Salgado out with pretty serious injuries currently? Thanks!

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      • Marlon

        Villareal plays everywhere across the attacking front. During qualifying he was played up top as often as he was found wide right.

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  • Husky

    Tough group to say the least.. Spain is in their golden generation of developing young players, (particularly those coming of of La Masia), France is France and the African team will be grown men.

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    • Samurai

      I disagree with your last statement. African players have alwyas been physically built, just ask Ghana when they played the U.S. and beat them twice in the World Cup. The Americans were outmuscled, outrun, and outplayed. They could not keep up with the speed, athleticism, and stamina of the Ghanian players.

      Like

    • ed - houston

      LOL, the old birth certificate switcharoo trick. Many are a “few” years older than documented. I know where you are coming from.

      Like

  • bottlcaps

    A good chance to advance. Remember the U-20’s are NOT the regular MNT. France is good and so is Spain, but they are just “good” not “Great”. In fact, all things being equal, the Mexican U20 team which had players from the U17 WC champions are, IMHO, better than both.

    Just because a youth team comes from a pedigreed national team, does not mean that team is as good. Several cases in point: Germany, Brazil and Argentina did not make the U-20 WC.

    The only other x-factor is that a lot of club teams did not allow its u-20 players play in WC qualifying, as FIFA, in it’s all knowing understanding, did not make release mandatory. For the U20 WC it is.Had Liverpool, let Pelosi go for the WCQ, he may not have broken his leg and, who knows, the US defeats Mexico. The Spanish U-23 was bounced from the Olympics by Honduras!

    All-in all I would be more afraid of facing Mexico and Columbia in my group, more than France and Spain.

    Like

    • THomas

      Isn’t it also much different qualification for the youth world cups? I feel like the weaker federations are represented at a higher rate than in the regular world cup.

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  • The Imperative Voice

    I think that by virtue of our second place finish in an OT loss at CONCACAF, we probably have a team worthy of the playoff round at the world level. But this tournament is more like the U23 CONCACAF crapshoot than the full blooded World Cup. There will be a few standouts and some different styles, and then a lot of people at the same level. You get results and/or have standout talent, you emerge, you don’t, goodbye. Given the history of recent U20 tournaments, I’d take the African entry as seriously as the UEFA teams, it may be as good or better.

    Based on U20 CONCACAF, the US has some offense but may be lacking on defense. Broken record. Not a shocker. If they can fix it with people like Yeldin, they could be interesting. If not, they may not survive group stage.

    Like

  • Travis in Miami

    On the FIFA site “…However, the drawing of Spain, France and USA in Group A drew gasps from the neutrals in the audience.”

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  • PD

    as long as they play well and have a respectable back four I’ll be happy. i will enjoy watching their play!

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  • Alex

    At the very least, this will provide our young guys with invaluable experience playing a few of the toughest, most skillful teams on the planet, and will hopefully bring about some entertaining soccer. It’ll be that much better and significant if we make it out of this group. Better get training, kids; you’ve got your work cut out for you!

    Like

  • fischy

    The favorite is whichever team will have Villareal, Gil, Cuevas, Joya, Yedlin and Cropper.

    Like

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