- Hosts Korea Republic targeting victory in opener
- Tough tasks ahead for Germany and debutants Vanuatu
- Classic fixture between Argentina and England
After much anticipation, the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 gets underway on Saturday 20 May with the first fixtures in Groups A and B. Venezuela and Germany contest the opening match in an encounter that may prove tough for the Europeans. Their South American rivals have been preparing intensively for this World Cup with a squad that even boasts senior internationals such as striker Adalberto Penaranda and midfielder Yeferson Soteldo. Meanwhile Vanuatu make their U-20 World Cup debut in Group B’s second game. The Oceania nation face Mexico, who are now one of the most experienced in the history of the competition with 15 appearances under their belt.
Hosts Korea Republic have lofty ambitions for this tournament and will be aiming to get their campaign off to a winning start. The first opponents for the Young Taeguk Warriors are Guinea, who qualified for the competition for the first time in 38 years. The second game in Group A is a classic fixture between Argentina and England, two countries that have contested several memorable duels at past FIFA World Cups™. The Three Lions will be keen to collect all three points to end a run of 17 winless matches at the U-20 World Cup, having last tasted victory in this tournament 20 years ago in Malaysia.
What you need to know
Argentina have six U-20 World Cup titles to their name, more than any other team. The fact that three of their triumphs (1979, 1995 and 1997) have come on Asian soil could be a good omen for the South Americans.
Korea Republic will celebrate an anniversary when they take on Guinea by competing in their 50th match at a U-20 World Cup. Fans of the host nation are pinning their hopes on talented midfielder Lee Seungwoo, who has been training at Barcelona’s renowned La Masia academy for several years and took his first steps on the international stage at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015.
As they take on Venezuela in their opening game, Germany’s defenders would be well advised to keep a particularly close eye on Adalberto Penaranda. The striker has already played in several top European leagues and caused a sensation in 2015 by becoming the youngest foreign player to score a brace in Spain’s La Liga, taking the record from none other than Lionel Messi.
Vanuatu secured a place at their first FIFA U-20 World Cup at the last moment. In their OFC U-20 Championship semi-final against the Solomon Islands, Frederick Massing scored the decisive goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time to book his team’s ticket to Korea Republic.