Sunday, March 04, 2007

U20 World Cup Draw

The draw for the upcoming U20 World Cup was finalized yesterday in Toronto. It was broadcast live on the CBC, who are doing their best to promote the tournament since they'll be televising it this summer. They even broke away from their regular Saturday afternoon programming (a scintillating mix of speed skating, cross-country skiing and curling) to cover the draw, and they hauled out such Canadian luminaries as Donovan Bailey, Christine Sinclair, Marnie McBean and Curt Harnett to pull the balls out of the bowls.

Group A: Canada, Chile, Congo, Austria

Group B: Spain, Uruguay, Jordan, Zambia

Group C: Portugal, New Zealand, Gambia, Mexico

Group D: Poland, Brazil, South Korea, USA

Group E: Argentina, Czech Republic, North Korea, Panama

Group F: Japan, Scotland, Nigeria, Costa Rica

The full tournament schedule is here.

There isn't really a group of death, because of the way the teams were distributed into the pots (FIFA's arcane procedures are here, if you're interested), coupled with the fact that the top two teams from each group plus the top four third-place teams will all go through to the round of 16.

Canada will open the tournament against Chile in Toronto on July 1st, but then move to Edmonton for the rest of its group games. I was a bit surprised that they'd allocated the Canadian team to Edmonton rather than Toronto, but on second thought they'll probably get more fan support out there. Toronto will be hosting most of the Group C matches instead -- which means I expect to see a lot of people here cheering for Portugal.

Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell did his best to downplay the team's chances, claiming that they'll face three tough teams, but they actually got off fairly lightly in the draw and should have a good chance of making it out of their group. But in the knockout rounds it'll get a lot tougher. Teams to watch for: Argentina (the defending champions), Brazil (winners of the South American U20 championship), and Spain (who won the last European U19 tournament).


BC Pangie said...

Maybe not a "group of death," but I think group D looks the hardest.

tilty said...

I imagine they chose Edmonton because of the enormous success that the Women's Under-19 World Cup tournament had in Edmonton a few years back which had totally surprised and impressed FIFA officials at the time.

Footie Fool said...

Very happy here in Victoria with our draw. Big Scot and Japanese communities, Nigeria is always a fun team to watch (at Sr. level anyway, I assume it'll be similar at U-20 level) and Costa Rica. Plus we'll get a quarter final game that could see Argentina or the Czech Republic coming to town, depending on how they finish in their group.

Anonymous said...

Hey there!
I have a bit of a random question, but I can't seem to find anything helpful yet, so I figured i'd have a go. Im heading up to ottawa for the world cup and got some jerseys to try and get signed for my beau. However, I have no clue how to go about doing this? Do you happen to know where/ if they post locations of signings? Thanks a ton!