The top four in South America will qualify for Poland 2019
Chile hosting the tournament from 17 January until 10 February
FIFA.com runs the rule over the ten hopefuls
From 17 January until 10 February, Chile will play host to the 29th South American U-20 Championship, from which four teams will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.
The cities of Rancagua, Talca and Curico will host the action, which begins with two groups of five, with the top three in each then proceeding to a hexagonal final phase. FIFA.com runs the rule over the ten participating nations.
Winners on five previous occasions, La Albiceleste will be under the tutelage of Fernando Batista, who took up the reins in late December, having been assistant coach at the last U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic in 2017. The current squad won the last edition of the L'Alcudia International Under-20 Tournament in Spain and have their sights set on the country’s first continental title since 2013.
Players to watch: Facundo Colidio (Forward/Inter Milan), Maximiliano Romero (Forward/PSV Eindhoven).
Having never qualified for a U-20 World Cup, La Verde turned to experienced coach Sixto Vizuete last September to spearhead their latest quest. The Ecuadorian led his senior national team during the qualifiers for South Africa 2010 and also guided the U-20s to the last 16 at the U-20 World Cup in 2011.
Players to watch: Walter Antelo (Defender/Sport Boys), Franz Gonzales (Midfielder/Sport Boys).
No team has a better record at this tournament than the Auriverde, although the last of their 11 continental crowns came eight years ago. In Chile they will have to do without the services of Vinicius Junior, the talented young striker on Real Madrid’s books, as well as those of Bayer Leverkusen forward Paulinho. What they do have, however, are six players who won bronze at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 as well as Carlos Amadeu, national team coach at the last two U-17 World Cups.
Players to watch: Rodrygo Goes (Forward/Santos), Lincoln (Forward/Flamengo).
Having never won this tournament and not graced the World Cup since 2013, the hosts will not be lacking motivation, especially playing in front of their own fans. Though disappointed to lose key centre forward Nicolas Guerra, they nonetheless have many talented youngsters to call on who could thrill the home crowds.
Players to watch: Marcelo Allende (Midfielder/Necaxa), Ivan Morales (Forward /Colo Colo).
Los Cafeteros will be looking for a fourth regional crown to round off the sterling work done at this level by Arturo Reyes, the interim coach who took over the reins of the senior team following the departure of Jose Pekerman. Some of the overseas-based members of the squad will be absent from Chile.
Players to watch: Carlos Cuesta (Defender/Atl. Nacional), Johan Carbonero (Forward/Once Caldas).
Coach Jorge Celico has spent the last year diligently preparing to ensure La Tri make back-to-back World Cup appearances. His side have several members based abroad and the advantage of having played a series of matches during their preparation.
Players to watch: Jackson Porozo (Defender /Santos), Diego Palacios (Defender/Willem II).
Gustavo Morinigo, who led Club Nacional to the final of the 2014 Copa Libertadores and oversaw the U-17 national team at India 2017, has assembled a squad of players with considerable experience in the country’s top flight.
Players to watch: Ivan Franco (Midfielder/Libertad), Fernando Cardozo (Midfielder/Olimpia).
La Bicolor go in search of their maiden qualification for a U-20 World Cup with a generation of youngsters already blooded in the professional game and with a year’s preparatory work under their belts.
Players to watch: Marcos Lopez (Midfielder/Sporting Cristal), Christopher Olivares (Midfielder/Sporting Cristal).
The reigning continental champions will be among the favourites, having appeared at the last six U-20 World Cups. Moreover, their squad contains nine foreign-based players – the most ever – including striker and star man Nicolas Schiappacasse (Rayo Majadahonda), a veteran of the last world finals in 2017.
Players to watch: Sebastian Caceres (Defender/Liverpool), Juan Sanabria (Forward/Atletico Madrid).
Led by Jan Hurtado, Samuel Sosa and Christian Makoun, and runners up at the 2017 World Cup in this age category, La Vinotinto will feel a responsibility to continue their recent success with this squad of talented individuals.
Players to watch: Christian Casseres Jr (Midfielder/NY Red Bulls), Enrique Pena Zauner (Midfielder/Borussia Dortmund).