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U-20 World Cup kicks off today


It's been a tournament that can launch careers and bring players in the spotlight. With less at stake than the full blown World Cup, the U-20 is still a chance to get a look at some of the game's best and brightest talents across the globe. Two years ago, Alexander Pato made a name for himself, while Freddy Adu and Danny Szetela secured European moves on the back of decent performances in Canada.

Action begins today with hosts Egypt taking on Trinidad & Tobago. 24 nations are in the mix, including Brazil, Spain, Australia, England and some lesser knowns like Tahiti and Uzbekistan. All games will be carried on ESPN networks and ESPN360, including today's opener.

So who will make a name for himself this time around? ESPN takes a look at some players to watch out for. Spain has a fairly talented side, with Arsenal's Fran Merida and Atletico Madrid's Sergio Asenjo among the bigger names, though Barcelona's Bojan Krcic misses out due to injury. A good individual performance could lead to a number of Brazilian based players to make the jump across the Atlantic. Kofi Danning is an exciting young Australian talent that might turn some heads if given the chance. 

What do you think of the U-20 World Cup starting? Excited to see international soccer? How will the U.S. do? Who are some players to look out for? Share your thoughts below.


  1. Ives,

    I’m Canadian and attended the U20 in 1997 “decent performances” – I would suggest Adu + Szetela (Altidore, Zizzo, Bradley, Seitz) were amongst the best players at the tournament and were unlucky not to go all the way to the final. Argentina was a class above but the USA in my mind were the second best team at that tournament. Perhaps a solid defender or two would have pushed them all the way.

  2. ives — love the site and agree adu has been terrible recently, but let’s give him credit when it’s due. i was living in argentina during the last u-20, so saw most of the matches. adu dominated the competition, including a brilliant performance against brazil. it’s unfortunate he has fallen so far so fast, but his performance at the u-20 was on par with pato’s and much better than “decent…” he deserves the criticism you have given him recently, but even you should give him praise when it is due…

  3. Hope to see a lot of coverage of the tourney here, Ives. This is no ‘small’ event– scouts from all over are here and its exciting to see how the the latest up&comers from the US will do, and where they might end up playing afterwards. Lets Go Young Nats!

    (SBI-We’ll be looking to do live commentary on all the USA matches as well as posts on the tournament’s better matches. We’ll be on top of it.)

  4. Nate, I think a summer tournament in Egypt would be the height of idiocy. But maybe that’s just because I’ve been to the middle east in the summer.

    Having minor tournaments like this off of the calendar enables the sport to continue to grow in nations outside of Europe/SouthAmerica. Nations that deserve to see the sport live.

  5. interesting that they are holding this during the club season rather than the summer. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, as most of the top U20s in the world already have contracts with big clubs and this tourney is below them. Allows for lesser know talent to showcase.

    Alwasy fun to watch, but definitely not a true test of “who is the best U20 team in the world”

  6. Great to see talents like asenjo. Spanish clubs let their players go to the world cup while german bundesliga and 2.bundesliga teams don´t. So germany are without 27!! players, only two of them because of injury. I think the US will be favorites against them.


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