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Asian quartet primed for Poland 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lodz: Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic, Japan and Qatar will be flying the flag for Asia when the eagerly anticipated 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup gets underway in Poland on Thursday.

The quartet qualified for the global extravaganza courtesy of their performances at last year’s AFC U-19 Championship, a tournament which saw Saudi Arabia – inspired by attacking midfielder Turki Al Ammar – beat Korea Republic 2-1 in the final.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup’s latest edition will run until June 15, and will be held in six cities across Poland - Bielsko-Biala, Bydgoszcz, Gdynia, Lodz, Lublin and Tychy.

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The Contenders

In total, 24 teams will be competing for glory at this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup, although reigning champions England have failed to qualify. The top two sides from each group and the four best third-placed teams will go through to the Round of 16.

Group A: Poland, Colombia, Tahiti, Senegal
Group B: Mexico, Italy, Japan, Ecuador
Group C: Honduras, New Zealand, Uruguay, Norway,
Group D: Qatar, Nigeria, Ukraine, United States of America
Group E: Panama, Mali, France, Saudi Arabia
Group F: Portugal, Korea Republic, Argentina, South Africa


How They Got There

Asia’s Opening Matches

Thursday, May 23: Japan v Ecuador – Bydgoszcz Stadium, Bydgoszcz. 20:30 (local time) Friday, May 24: Qatar v Nigeria – Tychy Stadium, Tychy. Kick-off: 18:00 (local time) Saturday, May 25: Korea Republic v Portugal – Bielsko-Biala Stadium, Bielsko Biala. 15:30 (local time) Saturday May 25: Saudi Arabia v France @ Gdynia Stadium, Gdynia. Kick-off: 18:00 (local time)

21 لاعبًا وقع الاختيار عليهم من المدير الفني خالد العطوي للمشاركة في نهائيات كأس العالم للشباب #بولندا 2019!

إليكم قائمة أبطال القارّة في المونديال ⚽! هيّا بنا لنفعلها 💪🏻 #معاك_يالأخضر 🇸🇦#U20WC

— المنتخب السعودي (@SaudiNT) May 20, 2019

Asia’s Hopefuls

Saudi Arabia: Are making their ninth appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Shone brightly during qualifying and will see 2013 champions France as their main rivals in Group E.

Korea Republic: Korea Republic are appearing for a 15th time, after hosting the last edition in 2017. Two-time winners Portugal and six-time champions Argentina await them in Group F.

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태극전사, 그대들을 세상에 증명하라!✨ 2019 FIFA 폴란드 U-20 월드컵에 참가하는 🇰🇷U-20 대표팀 배번을 공개합니다! ⠀⠀⠀ ✔ 2019 FIFA 폴란드 U-20 월드컵 🇰🇷v🇵🇹 #포르투갈 05.25(토) 22:30 🇰🇷v🇿🇦 #남아공 05.29(수) 03:30 🇰🇷v🇦🇷 #아르헨티나 06.01(토) 03:30 ⏰ 한국시간 기준 ⠀⠀⠀ #대한민국 #U20 #국가대표팀 #FIFA #U20WC

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Japan: Beaten semi-finalists at the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship, this is Japan’s 10th FIFA U-20 World Cup. The 1999 runners-up will play Italy, who finished third two years ago, in Group B.

Qatar: After reaching the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship’s last four, Qatar are set to feature for a fourth time. Their game against two-time runners-up Nigeria is the standout fixture in Group D.

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FIFA U-20ワールドカップポーランド2019(5/23~6/15) U-20日本代表 メンバー ・ 監督:#影山雅永 コーチ:#秋葉忠宏 GKコーチ:#高橋範夫 コンディショニングコーチ:#小粥智浩 ・ GK 12 #茂木秀(セレッソ大阪) 1 #若原智哉(京都サンガF.C.) 21 #鈴木彩艶(浦和レッズユース) ・ DF 15 #鈴木冬一(湘南ベルマーレ) 4 #瀬古歩夢(セレッソ大阪) 17 #三國ケネディエブス(アビスパ福岡) 5 #菅原由勢(名古屋グランパス) 19 #喜田陽(アビスパ福岡) 3 #小林友希(ヴィッセル神戸) 2 #東俊希(サンフレッチェ広島) ・ MF 10 #齊藤未月(湘南ベルマーレ) 7 #伊藤洋輝(名古屋グランパス) 6 #郷家友太(ヴィッセル神戸) 8 #藤本寛也(東京ヴェルディ) 16 #山田康太(横浜F・マリノス) 9 #斉藤光毅(横浜FC) ・ FW 11 #田川亨介(FC東京) 18 #原大智(FC東京) 13 #宮代大聖(川崎フロンターレ) 20 #中村敬斗(ガンバ大阪) 14 #西川潤(桐光学園高) ・ 🏆FIFA U-20ワールドカップ ポーランド 📅グループステージ 5/24 03:30 vsエクアドル🇪🇨 5/26 22:30 vsメキシコ🇲🇽 5/30 01:00 vsイタリア🇮🇹 #u20wc

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Asia @ the FIFA U-20 World Cup

An Asian side has yet to be crowned FIFA U-20 World Cup champions, although Qatar (1981) and Japan (1999) have both reached the final before losing to West Germany and Spain respectively. Last time out, host nation Korea Republic, Japan and Saudi Arabia all safely navigated the group stage but subsequently exited in the Round of 16.

A Springboard to the Future

Since its inception in 1977, the FIFA U-20 World Cup has undoubtedly provided a springboard for some of football’s biggest names, with luminaries such as Lionel Messi, Xavi, Paul Pogba and Ronaldinho all going on to greater things after featuring at one time or another.

Asia’s rising stars of yesteryear have also been thrust into the global spotlight thanks to their performances in previous editions, notably Hidetoshi Nakata’s dynamic displays at Qatar 1995 and United Arab Emirates ace Ismaeil Mata’s claiming of the Golden Ball when the Emiratis played host to the world in 2003.

Did You Know?

Saudi Arabia’s Abdul Rahman Al Roomi is one of only three players to have appeared in three editions of the FIFA U-20 World Cup - 1985, 1987, 1989.

Photos: FIFA via Getty Images, Qatar Football Association, AFP

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