A look ahead to the U-20 FIFA World Cup in Colombia
Ah, the youth championships. A chance for a nation’s bright talent to join forces and set the world alight; often putting themselves in the shop window by doing so. A fantastic performance at this tournament could seal a transfer to a big club or scupper one entirely. Furthermore, it could prove to be the last chance that a lot of young hopefuls get to feature for their national side, as many fail to make the transition from Under-21 to Seniors.
For those who might be confused, the U-20 World Cup is a substantially different tournament to the European Under-21 Championship, which England so drastically dropped out of a few weeks ago, as it is global. Furthermore, it simply contains more teams. The European U-21s contains a paltry 8 teams, whereas the World Cup has a full 24. Indeed, if you want some quality youth football this summer (or any football at all for that matter), then I would suggest checking this out.
The U-20 World Cup, held this year in Colombia, will provide a number of challenges for England. First up is the difficult group which contains the famously strong youth sides of Argentina and Mexico. England certainly should be able to decimate their other group-mate North Korea, but stranger things have happened. Argentina will undoubtedly win the group, so it’s up to England to get past Mexico for second place. But at least the unceremonious defeat to Czech Republic will not be possible here as the Czechs failed to qualify.
Another big problem for England is that they will be without midfield dynamo Jack Wilshere, who will undoubtedly refuse his call-up to the competition. Part of the fun of this type of tournament is that whenever a U-20 player gets good, he’s moved to the U-21s or Seniors and is never heard of again. It seems likely that England will go with Sordell from Watford and Mason from Doncaster up front, which is hardly ideal. We’ll find out more about the teams in the coming weeks.
The first matches of the tournament are held a month from now on July 30th 2011. So be sure to come back before then for some more coverage as soon as we have more information.