- 22nd edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup set to begin
- Poland face Colombia in their opening game
- South American champions Ecuador meet Japan
MATCHDAY PREVIEW – The time has come! Roughly two years after the trophy was lifted by England, who are not competing this time around, the search begins for the new U-20 world champions in Poland. The hosts, staging their first FIFA tournament, will take on Colombia in their opening match. In the group’s other game, Tahiti will be hoping to score their first goal at their second U-20 World Cup when they meet Senegal, having conceded 21 while scoring none on their debut.
In Group B, 2018 UEFA European U-19 Championship runners-up Italy face Mexico, who are taking part in this competition for the 16th time. Only Brazil, who are also reduced to being spectators this year, have graced more U-20 World Cups (18).
Fans are also eagerly awaiting the appearance of Ecuador, who have travelled to Europe with high hopes after being crowned continental champions in South America for the first time. Their opponents Japan have plenty of experience, having progressed past the group stage seven times in their last nine appearances in the competition and reached the last eight on three occasions.
Tahiti-Senegal (Lublin, 18:00 local time)
Poland-Colombia (Lodz, 20:30)
Mexico-Italy (Gdynia, 18:00)
Japan-Ecuador (Bydgoszcz, 20:30)
What you need to know
“We are focusing closely on Tahiti, a team we know absolutely nothing about. This kind of opponent is always capable of springing a surprise.”
Senegal coach Youssouph Dabo
“Opponents will have to adapt to us. That doesn’t mean that we can’t make any adjustments, but we won’t change the way we play. We want to take the World Cup trophy home with us. Everything is difficult in this job, and as long as we have a chance, it would be wrong not to dream right until the end.”
Ecuador coach Jorge Celico
Player to watch
Majecki has been the first-choice goalkeeper for top Polish club Legia Warsaw since October 2018. The 19-year-old has kept seven clean sheets and conceded just 12 goals in 14 league games. He will be a formidable presence for the hosts on home turf.
Although this highly rated attacking midfielder is only 18 years old, he has already won four senior international caps. He has been playing for Real Betis in Spain since January 2019, making 16 appearances for the club last season. Lainez also played every minute of Mexico’s four matches at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, and will be the mainstay of El Tri’s midfield in Poland.