South America's sights on Costa Rica/Panama 2020

3 Mar 2020
  • South American Women's U-20 Championship about to start in Argentina

  • Top two there will represent the region at this year’s U-20 World Cup

  • FIFA.com previews the qualifying event and brings you key tournament info

The road to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup has found its way to Argentina, which is set to host the South American U-20 Women's Championship that will decide the region’s two representatives at Costa Rica/Panama 2020.

What you need to know

📍 Host cities: San Juan (Group A and final phase) and San Luis (Group B) 🗓 Dates: 4– 22 March ⚽️ At stake: Two places at Costa Rica/Panama 2020 🤔 Tournament format: The first phase will see two groups of five countries adopting a round-robin format. The top two from each section will progress to a quadrangular final phase in which each side plays the other three. The top two teams after this qualify for the World Cup.

The groups

Group AGroup B
ArgentinaBrazil
BoliviaChile
VenezuelaUruguay
ColombiaParaguay
EcuadorPeru
MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - NOVEMBER 17: Michell Lugo of Colombia makes a save during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 group D match between Colombia and Spain at Estadio Charrua on November 17, 2018 in Montevideo, Uruguay.(Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Analysis

Group A

On paper, this looks to be a very even group. Home advantage could prove key for Argentina under Carlos Borrello, the same coach who steered the senior team to last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in France. One player who clearly stands out for the hosts is Dalila Ippolito, the only squad member who went to France, where she was used as an impact sub.

Meanwhile, Carmelia Rojas’ Venezuela, who were runners-up last year in the inaugural South American U-19 Women’s League, can call on nine squad members who are playing overseas. Among them is goalkeeper Alexa Castro, a veteran of the U-17 World Cups of 2014 and 2016.

Colombia will be banking on the nucleus of the side that cut their teeth at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018. In total, 11 of that squad are now with the U-20 side, which is overseen by senior-team coach Nelson Abadia.

The tournament represents the first major challenge for Brazil's Emily Lima in her new role as Ecuador coach. Speaking recently to FIFA.com, she remarked on the "sizeable number of quality players" she had found there, while still recognising the difficulty of qualifying for any World Cup.

In that regard, Napoleon Cardozo's Bolivia look to be a notch below their group rivals and will need to be at their very best to remain in the mix.

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - NOVEMBER 20: Gisseli of Brazil waves to the crowd after the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 group B match between South Africa and Brazil at Estadio Charrua on November 20, 2018 in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Group B

Brazil, winner of all eight editions of the Sudamericano to date, are clear favourites for the title. Within Jonas Urias’ squad are eight veterans of the U-17 World Cup in Uruguay and who formed the core of the team that won the aforementioned South American U-19 Women’s League. Among those joining that cohort will be talented midfielder Ana Vitoria, currently plying her trade with Portugal’s Benfica.

Lurking just behind them are Paraguay. Runners-up at this tournament two years ago, they will be hoping to capitalise on the experience gained by coach Epifania Benitez courtesy of the FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme.

Chile will be trying to continue their good moment under coach Andres Aguayo, whose side contain midfielder Elisa Duran and forward Javiera Grez, two members of the senior Roja squad from France 2019.

Uruguay, meanwhile, aim to build on the experience of the last U-17 World Cup, which the country hosted. Unsurprisingly, the man tasked with this is Ariel Longo, who worked with 12 of his current squad while in charge of the U-17s two years ago on home soil. Among his standout players is Valentina Morales of Spanish outfit Real Murcia.

Peru, for their part, are confident Brazilian coach Doriva Bueno, who led his country's national team to three FIFA U-20 World Cups, can make a difference from the bench.

RENNES, FRANCE - JUNE 20: Javiera Grez of Chile reacts after getting injured during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France group F match between Thailand and Chile at Roazhon Park on June 20, 2019 in Rennes, France. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Did you know?

  • Brazil have never missed a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup

  • Making up the list of South American sides with most World Cup appearances are: Argentina with three (2006, 2008 and 2012), Paraguay with two (2014 and 2018), Chile (2008), Venezuela (2016) and Colombia (2010) all with one apiece

  • Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador have yet to qualify for a Women’s World Cup in this age category