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Analysis: Nigeria, Qatar, Ukraine, USA - FIFA U-20

Group D analysis: Nigeria, Qatar, Ukraine, USA - FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 teams

May 14, 2019 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
Group D easily qualifies as another 'Group of Death' considering the pedigree of the teams it features.

On paper, it is easy to predict a smooth sail for the USA U-20 in Group D of this year's FIFA U-20 World Cup considering their competence and experience level in the history of the competition. The confidence might also come off the back of the fact that they approach the competition with a successive win of the Concacaf U-20 Championship title.

The feat ushered the boys into their fourth straight World Cup, with head coach Tab Ramos leading the team there on all those occasions. The USA U-20 may present a tough test for the other Group D occupants as they could approach the tournament with a host of experienced youngsters in the likes of PSG's Timothy Weah, Werder Bremen forward Josh Sargent, RB Leipzig wunderkind Tyler Adams as well as MLS quartet Mark McKenzie, Jaylin Lindsey, Chris Durkin, and Paxton Pomykal.

Nonetheless, that is not to say that the opponents they face will be mere pushovers. For starters, the opener against Ukraine on May 24 could well define the campaign for Ramos' boys with the Europeans coming into the tournament following a top-four finish at the 2018 UEFA European U-19 Championship held in Finland. It is worth noting that they finished their group ahead of France and the U-20 World Cup's defending champions England.

While the USA has never won in two meetings with Eastern European opposition in the history of the U-20 competition, Ukraine's presence makes things even trickier. Volodymyr Yezerskiy's men will aim to go a step further than their Round of 16 finish in the previous edition of the U-20 World and they will very much be required to stage a convincing performance against the Americans as well Nigeria and Qatar.

Among the four competitors in Group D, Nigeria stands as the most decorated among the lot. While the Flying Eagles are yet to win the World Cup, they have finished as runners-up on two occasions (1980 and 2005) while finishing Third in 1985. Their experience in youth tournaments may be unmatched considering they have successful won the African Championships on seven occasions.

Again, the USA U-20 team could potentially have another daunting task on its hands as Nigeria emerged victorious via a 2-1 scoreline in the only meeting in history between the two on the U-20 World Cup stage. While that took place almost 30 years ago, not much has changed in terms of the Flying Eagles' abilities. They enter this year's World Cup in Poland on the back of a fourth place finish at this year's Africa U-20 Cup of Nations hosted by Niger.

After progressing to the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the third year running, it is probably time that a keen eye was kept on a fast-rising Qatari side. Coming into Poland as one of four Asian teams to have secured qualification, there could a lot on the sleeves of Félix Sánchez Bas' young brigade.

The 2014 AFC Championship winners booked their ticket to the World Cup by making it to the semifinals of the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship. Could this crop of Qatar players top their second-place finish at the 1981 World Youth Championship? That his certainly a feat that could be determined by football's unpredictability. However, what is certain is that the Asians are in for a tough ride among three of the world's best football nations on the youth level.

How to watch all of Group D's fixtures at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup

 

Match details, result and original broadcast info

Qatar 0 - 4 Nigeria

May 24, 2019 12:00pmStadion Miejski (Tychy)

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Ukraine 2 - 1 USA

May 24, 2019 2:30pmStadion Miejski (Bielsko-Biała)

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Qatar 0 - 1 Ukraine

May 27, 2019 12:00pmStadion Miejski (Tychy)

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Match details, result and original broadcast info

USA 2 - 0 Nigeria

May 27, 2019 2:30pmStadion Miejski (Bielsko-Biała)

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Nigeria 1 - 1 Ukraine

May 30, 2019 2:30pmStadion Miejski (Bielsko-Biała)

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USA 1 - 0 Qatar

May 30, 2019 2:30pmStadion Miejski (Tychy)

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2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup full fixtures and broadcast listings

 


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