Hosts Korea Republic to play Guinea in FIFA U-20 World Cup opener

The Official Draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 has taken place at the Suwon Artrium, mapping out the group-stage challenge for each of the 24 teams involved.

The pairings were drawn by some famous personalities including two amazing FIFA Legends, Diego Maradona, who won the 1979 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and Pablo Aimar, who won the 1997 edition. Also acting as draw assistants were the Mayor of Suwon City and owner of Suwon City FC, Tae Young Yeom; Vice-chairman of FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 Local Organising Committee, a living legend of Korean Football who was a former Korean national football team player and a head coach, Bumkun Cha. There was also a member of worldwide K-Pop group 'ShiNee', Minho Choi; as well as U-20 women's national football team player and a winner of the KFA Young Player awards in 2016, Ye Eun Park.

The FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 will bring some promising matches. Hosts Korea Republic will take on Guinea in the opening match on 20 May, with Group A also including England and Argentina in what turned out to be a mouth-watering group.

The groups ***Group A: Korea Republic, Guinea, Argentina, England Group B: Venezuela, Germany, Vanuatu, Mexico Group C: Zambia, Portugal, Iran, Costa Rica Group D: South Africa, Japan, Italy, Uruguay Group E: France, Honduras, Vietnam, New Zealand Group F: ***Ecuador, USA, Saudi Arabia, Senegal

Other standout games from the first round of matches include CAF U-20 Africa Cup of Nations title-holders Zambia taking on two-time winners Portugal and Italy facing South American champions Uruguay. Meanwhile, new-comers Vanuatu – in their first ever FIFA tournament – have been dealt a challenging opener against Mexico, while Vietnam kick off their debut 11-a-side appearance at a FIFA competition against Oceania’s top side New Zealand.

“What a draw for Argentina!” Maradona said, following the draw. “We have some tough games, including a match against the hosts! What an exciting match that will be here in Korea, especially in front of a big local crowd.”

Cha added: “The FIFA U-20 World Cup is the best stage for preparing players ahead of appearing in the FIFA World Cup. There are no easy match-ups here. I hope the participating teams will take advantage of the two months before kick-off, to prepare themselves and show the best on the main stage,” after taking part in the Draw.

What a draw for Argentina! Park, part of the Korean women's team who participated in two FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cups, commented: “I am one of those who is greatly anticipating the first FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. I hope all the players, including our Korean side, will put on a display of quality football during the 23 days of action here.”

“It was a pleasure to be part of the U-20 World Cup draw in Korea,” Aimar said. “My fellow Argentinians have a tough draw against the hosts Korea Republic, Guinea and England in the first game. Some great matches to look forward to!”

Another highlight as well as the Draw was the live performance by the teenage K-Pop boyband, NCT DREAM, singing “Trigger the Fever” the Official Song for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 for the very first time. The song will help to raise even more excitement towards the FIFA tournament which will be played in six venues across Korea Republic from 20 May to 11 June 2017.

The day before the draw, Maradona and Aimar took part in a five-a-side exhibition football match at Hwaseong Haenggung Palace in Suwon. The two Argentinian legends played alongside the South Korean U-20 coach Shin Tae-yong, the actor Ryu Jun-yeol and a selected group of former and young Korean players in front of hundreds of excited South Korean fans.

The results of the draw and general background information on the event including the match schedule, team profiles and reports, can be found here on the competition’s official website.