The Official Draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 has taken place at the Suwon Artrium, mapping out the group-stage challenge for each of the 24 teams involved.
The pairings were drawn by some famous personalities including two amazing FIFA Legends, Diego Maradona, who won the 1979 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and Pablo Aimar, who won the 1997 edition.
Also acting as draw assistants were the Mayor of Suwon City and owner of Suwon City FC, Tae Young Yeom; Vice-chairman of FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 Local Organising Committee, a living legend of Korean Football who was a former Korean national football team player and a head coach, Bumkun Cha. There was also a member of worldwide K-Pop group 'ShiNee', Minho Choi; as well as U-20 women's national football team player and a winner of the KFA Young Player awards in 2016, Ye Eun Park.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 will bring some promising matches. Hosts Korea Republic will take on Guinea in the opening match on 20 May, with Group A also including England and Argentina in what turned out to be a mouth-watering group.
Group A: Korea Republic, Guinea, Argentina, England
Group B: Venezuela, Germany, Vanuatu, Mexico
Group C: Zambia, Portugal, Iran, Costa Rica
Group D: South Africa, Japan, Italy, Uruguay
Group E: France, Honduras, Vietnam, New Zealand
Group F: Ecuador, USA, Saudi Arabia, Senegal
Other standout games from the first round of matches include CAF U-20 Africa Cup of Nations title-holders Zambia taking on two-time winners Portugal and Italy facing South American champions Uruguay. Meanwhile, new-comers Vanuatu – in their first ever FIFA tournament – have been dealt a challenging opener against Mexico, while Vietnam kick off their debut 11-a-side appearance at a FIFA competition against Oceania’s top side New Zealand.
“What a draw for Argentina!” Maradona said, following the draw. “We have some tough games, including a match against the hosts! What an exciting match that will be here in Korea, especially in front of a big local crowd.”
Cha added: “The FIFA U-20 World Cup is the best stage for preparing players ahead of appearing in the FIFA World Cup. There are no easy match-ups here. I hope the participating teams will take advantage of the two months before kick-off, to prepare themselves and show the best on the main stage,” after taking part in the Draw.
Park, part of the Korean women's team who participated in two FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cups, commented: “I am one of those who is greatly anticipating the first FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. I hope all the players, including our Korean side, will put on a display of quality football during the 23 days of action here.”
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