Two of the powerhouses of world football, Brazil and Nigeria, will battle it out in New Plymouth on the opening weekend of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. This is one of the clashes of the tournament confirmed that has been confirmed after a draw in Senegal and a weekend of final preliminary matches to determine the African qualifiers.
Nigeria, who have qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup more often than any other African team, were crowned winners of the qualifying competition and automatically took the CAF 1 position in the draw, placing them in New Plymouth with Brazil, Hungary and Korea DPR.
The other three qualifying teams from Africa - Ghana, Senegal and Mali - were then redrawn as CAF 2, CAF 3 and CAF 4. As the official draw had already been held in Auckland on 10 February this redraw of the African qualifiers ensured there was no manipulation of games in the qualifying tournament ensuring fairness to all qualified teams.
As a result, Mali were drawn as CAF 2 and will play their matches in Dunedin and Hamilton against Mexico, Serbia and Uruguay. Ghana were drawn as CAF 3 and will play in Wellington against Argentina, Panama and Austria, while Senegal become CAF 4 and play in Hamilton against Qatar, Colombia and Portugal.
Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chief Executive Dave Beeche expressed his happiness at the final pieces of the jigsaw coming together. “We are thrilled by the quality of the countries that have qualified for the tournament. African countries have a proud track record in this competition and we expect one or two of them to be in contention deep into the knockout phase,” said Mr Beeche.
“With the African teams finalising our draw we can look forward to some blockbuster matches throughout the country including a mouth-watering opener in New Plymouth when Brazil plays Nigeria.”
The tournament kicks off on 30 May and you can buy tickets at www.fifa.com/nz2015.