(Throughout the week, we will go through every group and let you know what to look for and what to expect in the U-20 World Cup.)
With the FIFA U-20 World Cup coming up starting on Friday, group B will take to the field early in the competition. In fact, one of the biggest matchups in the group will happen right off the bat on the opening day of the tournament.
This group features one of the big names in international soccer, Argentina. It’s a side many have tipped to win the entire tournament. However, will this group stage prove the experts wrong? It could be one of the more intriguing groups thanks to a few up and coming sides sitting alongside the favorite.
Let’s take a look at Group B of the tournament and some of the names you’ll want to remember for upcoming seasons at the club and international level.
Group B Teams:
Argentina, Panama, Ghana, Austria
Group B Schedule (All Games on Fox Networks):
Saturday, May 30: Argentina vs. Panama, Midnight ET FS2
Saturday, May 30: Ghana vs. Austria, 3AM ET FS2
Tuesday, June 2: Austria vs. Panama, Midnight ET FS2
Tuesday, June 2: Ghana vs. Argentina, 3AM ET FS2
Friday, June 5: Austria vs. Argentina, Midnight ET FS2
Friday, June 5: Ghana vs. Panama, Midnight ET FS2
Player to Watch in Group B: Angel Correa, Argentina
He was so good during the COMNEBOL qualifiers that Atletico Madrid swooped in and signed him away from San Lorenzo. Correa made 65 appearances for San Lorenzo and scored 12 goals, before moving on to Atletico Madrid.
On the youth international level, Correa has been impressive with four goals in eight appearances. Many see him as a cross between compatriots Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez — two names that aren’t bad to be compared to on the pitch.
X-Factor in Group B: Ghana and Panama’s experience
It seems weird to be talking about experience at a youth international tournament. However both Ghana and Panama are taking two of the oldest squads in to the tournament. Just eight players were born in 1995 for those two teams, while the rest of the sides in Group B have a lot of 1995-born players. Austria has 18 of its 21 players born in 1995 and Argentina has 13 players born in that year.
While experience and age aren’t everything on a soccer pitch, when you are talking youth-level play sometimes that experience and a bit of maturity both physically and mentally can matter. There’s no guarantee either of these two sides move on, but having some older players in the mix can’t hurt the chances.
Most Important Game: Austria vs. Panama
Those inside CONCACAF circles know that the Panamanian side is up and coming, not only at the youth but at the full international levels as well. With Ghana placing third in the CAF tournament, the North American and European sides are likely to have just one shot to control their own destiny. That shot comes in this head-to-head matchup, and the winner is likely to be the side to advance to the knockout stage alongside Argentina.
Teams to Automatically Move On: Argentina, Austria
Argentina is easily the most recognizable side in this tournament, and it also happens to be the country that has done the best over the course of the history of this tournament too. Look for the side that has hoisted the championship trophy six times already to move on easily in this group. If we had to pick a second team to go through, Austria’s side happens to look pretty attractive, as it has players with plenty of experience at some high profile clubs to speak of.