FIFA U-20 World Cup record
Argentina represent the gold standard at this age group, having won the FIFA U-20 World Cup a record six times, in 1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007. A cursory glance at the list of players who have worn the famous sky-blue and white shirt over the course of the tournament's history speaks volumes of the country's pedigree: Diego Maradona, Ramon Diaz, Juan Roman Riquelme, Pablo Aimar, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero are just a handful of the Argentinian greats who have graced the competition. However, they have struggled since their most recent title, not even qualifying for two of the last four editions and going no further than the quarter-finals in the other two.
The road to Korea Republic
It took a 95th-minute equaliser against Brazil to save Argentina from missing out on Korea Republic 2017. A dramatic 2-2 draw with their arch-rivals kept their hopes alive going into the last round of South American U-20 Championship fixtures, in which their victory over Venezuela – coupled with A Seleção being held by Colombia – allowed the Argentinians to snatch the fourth and final qualifying place from the Brazilians, who finished a solitary point adrift. While their performances may have largely lacked lustre, La Albiceleste showed spirit in spades – they had scored a previous late leveller against Uruguay and delivered when the pressure was on against La Vinotinto – and flashes of brilliance up front. Their stars were midfield anchorman Santiago Ascacibar and the attackers Lautaro Martinez and Tomas Conechny.
An accomplished centre-back in the 1990s and 2000s, Claudio Ubeda spent the bulk of his playing career at Racing Club. He hung up his boots in December 2007 at Huracan, where he immediately moved into the dugout. After further stints at the helm of two Argentinian second-division outfits and a Chilean second-tier club, as well as a brief spell in caretaker charge of Racing, he was appointed the Argentina U-20 coach in October 2016.
5 – The number of goals that Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Torres chalked up apiece at the South American U-20 Championship. Despite only having limited time to work together ahead of the competition, they swiftly clicked and struck up a fine partnership. With their differing attributes, the duo dovetail perfectly: Martinez is a technically gifted, nimble forward with two good feet, while Torres is a powerful target man with great heading ability. They will be Argentina's chief threats in Korea Republic.