CONCACAF U20 Championship
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About CONCACAF U20 Championship
CONCACAF U20 Championship History, Format, Organization, Media Coverage
The CONCACAF U20 Championship is a biennial association football competition contested by under-20 men’s national teams from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The tournament officially began in 1962 but after several changes, it returned to a championship-style format in 2009 and started fresh. Additionally, the championship acts as the qualifiers for the FIFA U20 World Cup, with the top four teams in this tournament earning tickets to the finals.
The competition has undergone several format changes over the years. For example, in 2015, the 12 participants were split into two groups of six for a single round-robin phase. After each team faced the other five once, the first-placed nation moved on to the final and booked their ticket to the FIFA U20 World Cup. The teams that finished in second and third in each group moved on to a playoff stage. From those four, the side with the best performance in the previous round was drawn against the team with the worst group-stage points tally and the remaining two faced off. The winners of these two fixtures joined the two finalists in the U20 World Cup.
For the 2017 edition, things changed. The 12 participants were drawn into three groups of four with the top two sides from each group moving on to the classification stage. In this classification stage, the six teams that qualified from the previous round were drawn into two groups of three this time, with each team facing the other two once. The top two teams from each group earned tickets to the U20 World Cup that was held later that year while the two group winners moved on the final.
In 2018, the number of participants increased to 34 nations, with every country entering the group stage directly. The 2020 edition introduced a knockout stage (round of 16, quarter-finals, and semi-finals), with the 16 highest-ranked teams entering the group stage directly and the remaining 17 going through a separate qualification round to make the last 16.