Łódź, Poland – For the first time in its history, Poland will host the Under-20 (or U-20) Youth Football World Cup, a major tournament for young players aged under 20 and breeding ground for the world-class talents of tomorrow.
As the first-ever FIFA tournament organized in Poland, the U-20 World Cup is attracting a lot of attention: more than 100.000 tickets have already been sold on the official FIFA website two months ahead of the kick-off and less than three weeks after going on sale. Tickets prices range from 10 to 40 zlotys.
The most sought-after matches are the finals, as well as the three group fixtures of the national Polish team. Poland will play in the Group A against Columbia, on the kick-off on May 23, against Tahiti on May 26 and Senegal three days later. All of the Polish team’s matches will be played in the Łódź stadium.
Poland won the bid to become the host country of the 22nd edition of the Under-20 Football World Cup last year. “After organizing the final tournament of the 2012 UEFA European Championship, the final tournament of the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship and the 2015 UEFA Europa League Final, the time has come for another test, which we, as a federation and as a country, will not fail”, president of the Polish Football Association Zbigniew Boniek said. “This is even more true given that this final tournament will take place on the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Polish Football Association”.
The Polish national team is led by coach Jacek Magiera, a former professional player and coach for Legia Warsaw. “I appreciate the trust I was given […] I hope young players will take to heart the fact that regular play is crucial and that the U-20 World Cup may present them with a golden opportunity”, Magiera stated.
Twenty four nations will face off during the competition, that runs until June 15, including six European teams. Matches will be held in one of six Polish cities (Bielsko-Biała, Bydgoszcz, Gdynia, Łódź, Lublin and Tychy), with both the opening and final matches organized in Łódź.
Several football stars, including Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Andrés Iniesta, Antoine Griezmann or Gerard Piqué first made a name for themselves during the U-20 World Cup.
This is the fifth time Poland qualifies for the Under-20 Football World Cup. Last time they took part to the competition dates back to the 2007 edition in Canada, when they were beaten by Argentina in the round of 16. In 1979, Poland lost to Uruguay in the play-off for third place in Japan, and was eliminated directly at the group stage two years later in Australia. Their biggest achievement came in 1983 in Mexico, where they secured the third place thanks to their victory against the Korean side.
Check out the U-20 Groups and choose the team you’re going to root for!
Group A: Poland, Columbia, Tahiti, Senegal
Group B: Mexico, Italy, Japan, Equator
Group C: Uruguay, New Zealand, Honduras, Norway
Group D: Qatar, Nigeria, USA, Ukraine
Group E: Panama, Mali, France, Saudi Arabia
Group F: Portugal, Argentina, South Korea, South Africa.
For more information, you can visit the official website of the Youth Football World Cup 2019.