After its cancellation in 2021 attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, the Under-20 South American Championship returns on Thursday with Colombia’s Bogotá and Cali serving as host cities. Originated in 1995, this event basically opens the worldwide soccer calendar and likewise serves as qualification for this yr’s U20 males’s World Cup, which will probably be held in May and June in Indonesia. The prime three may also participate on this yr’s Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. In addition, as a result of the Summer Olympics enable for under three gamers to be over the age of 23 in every squad, this event acts as a recruitment device for Paris 2024.
The format is kind of distinctive. There are solely two teams of 5 groups enjoying in a round-robin format. The prime three from every group advance to a remaining group of six, and in that remaining part, they will play one another as soon as. The winner is set by most factors as there isn’t a knockout format, remaining or third-place fixture at any stage.
There are loads of storylines value your time on this yr’s competitors. Ecuador, the defending champions, hope to repeat as soon as once more, however many groups have had time to develop since La Tri gained in 2019, which was their first ever title. It may very well be truthful to say that Brazil, for instance, are aching for this trophy as it has been 12 years since the most profitable nation on this competitors (11 titles) had been topped champions.
Then there’s the gifted Argentina, who will use all the motivation from the senior crew’s historic win in Qatar to safe victory for the first time since 2015. This Albiceleste squad will probably be the first to formally put on the shirt with three stars. They might not have coach Lionel Scaloni, however they are going to be led by a former participant who is aware of precisely how you can compete at the highest stage: Javier Mascherano. Uruguay are all the time robust contenders, and with a gutsy crew stuffed with gifted people who play in very massive golf equipment, this may very well be a superb yr for them.
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Don’t low cost hosts Colombia, although: they are going by a mini-revolution inside the federation after their senior crew did not qualify for the World Cup. There is numerous expertise right here, and so they’re able to win on house soil and for the first time in a decade.
This competitors additionally serves as a proverbial goldmine for scouts from throughout the globe. It can function a life-changing alternative for gamers in addition to South American golf equipment that may revenue from European curiosity. There will probably be loads of European golf equipment being attentive to this competitors.
There will probably be no Endrick, nevertheless. The Brazilian prodigy — who will play for Real Madrid subsequent yr — was initially chosen when the squad was launched, however Palmeiras requested the federation take away him so he may very well be featured in the Paulista Championship. Manchester United winger Alejandro Garnacho additionally will not characteristic for Argentina both, as the Red Devils opted for him to stick with the membership.
Then there’s 19-year-old Colombian Jhon Durán, who not too long ago made his transfer to Aston Villa from Chicago Fire FC for $18 million plus incentives. At the time of writing, Durán has left the Colombian setup for Birmingham to finalize his medical, contract and work allow. Colombia are hopeful he’ll return to the event, however that can depend upon the Premier League membership. His compatriot, Juan David “Juanda” Fuentes — who performs for Barcelona B — will certainly carry the load upfront till then.
Another star who can be heading to the Premier League, however is enjoying in the event (not like Durán,) is 18-year-old Brazilian Andrey Santos. Chelsea not too long ago recruited the Vasco da Gama midfielder and can welcome him again after the competitors.
As a Peruvian, it is my obligation — in any other case I will probably be disowned by my household — to additionally notice Matías Lazo, a flexible defender from Melgar. He is a robust chief who will probably be examined instantly as Perú face Brazil in the opener.
Still, other than these names, there may be loads of largely unrecognized expertise in the event. Keep an eye fixed on these 5 gamers: do not say you were not warned.
The solely member of the Ecuador squad who performs in Europe, this gifted 19-year-old is at Ajax and representing their reserves crew on mortgage, with an choice to make the transfer everlasting, from Independiente Del Valle, the Ecuadorian powerhouse that gave us the likes of Moisés Caicedo and Gonzalo Plata. Delgado, nephew of Agustín “Tín” Delgado (former all-time main scorer for the nationwide crew earlier than Enner Valencia took over) is a robust box-to-box midfielder who enjoys the easy artwork of fast passing, robust tackling and producing targets each time potential. He is a humble, sensible younger man who moved to the Netherlands at 18, with out understanding a phrase of Dutch or English, however he has acclimated properly in one in every of the finest academies in the world.
“I did everything possible to be here,” Delgado mentioned to Diario Expreso. “I wanted to be here and support the team with the short experience I have had abroad.”
Don’t let his humility idiot you. This younger man is a potent risk and is able to assist Ecuador defend their title.
Darío Osorio | Chile | 18 | Winger | Universidad de Chile
Universidad de Chile, an enormous in Chilean soccer although one which has been struggling as of late, (attributable to financial points, they’ve flirted with relegation in the previous few seasons), has the most gamers in Patricio Ormazábal’s squad, and it is no shock. The membership boasts various high quality prospects and Osorio, a quick-thinking, inverted proper winger, isn’t any exception.
Chile’s senior crew has been struggling with the chilly realization that their golden years of Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and Charles Aránguiz are slowly fading away, however there may be loads of younger expertise able to graduate. Osorio is one in every of its brightest — he is quick, courageous and a headache for defenders along with his nice left foot. There are quite a few reviews on his subsequent vacation spot, from Serie A to Tottenham Hotspur, and there is not any doubt we are going to see him in Europe sooner quite than later. For now, get pleasure from his potential on this competitors.
Máximo Perrone | Argentina | 20 | Midfielder | Veléz Sarsfield
By the time you end studying this sentence, Perrone — a composed, confident midfielder for Veléz Sarsfield — may also be preparing for Europe. More particularly, Manchester City. Pep Guardiola is so intensely focused on Perrone that he has reportedly contacted the membership, Perrone’s representatives and the aforementioned Mascherano, who naturally is aware of the Premier League extraordinarily properly. Veléz president Sergio Rapisarda is just not blissful, nevertheless, as he has been dissatisfied in Guardiola, Man City and even Mascherano, all attempting to affect Perrone’s resolution. It’s understood that Perrone’s transfer to City is about and can head to Manchester after the event.
Perrone performs properly above his age. He’s a wise athlete with good timing, composure and an aggressive eye for aim. If Argentina win this event, Perrone will probably be an enormous motive why.
Vitor Roque | Brazil | 17 | Forward | Athletico Paranaense
To keep away from hyperbole, it is necessary to all the time stay sensible with expectations, however Roque is the actual deal. A 17-year-old striker who performs for Athletico Paranaense and has reportedly been buying loads of admirers, together with Chelsea, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. All must wait till he turns 18, and Paranaense will demand a hefty worth as they see Roque as a elementary participant, not only for the membership but in addition Brazil. He is a basic center-forward who can play anyplace throughout the entrance line.
There have been comparisons to Ronaldo Fenómeno, however I refuse to go there as that sort of stress ought to by no means be utilized to somebody so younger. Let Roque make his personal path, one that appears to be extraordinarily promising.
Álvaro Rodríguez | Uruguay | 18 | Forward | Real Madrid
Born in Spain to Uruguayan dad and mom, Rodríguez is one in every of two members of Real Madrid Castilla who’re collaborating in the event (the different being Nico Paz), and Uruguay U20 coach Marcelo Broli is ecstatic to have him, as Rodríguez had beforehand featured for Spain’s U18s.
“It’s so great to have him here, because we were trying for months to get him to come,” Broli mentioned earlier this week. “He’s a very humble kid and has adapted to the team very quickly. Our game suits him well because we like to go wide with speed so hopefully we’ll get him to the danger areas.”
That’s precisely what Rodríguez, who made his debut for Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final week, does. In phrases of Uruguay, there was little question in his thoughts he needed to finally come and characterize the nation.
“It was me who made the decision,” he mentioned, and never his father, the former Uruguay worldwide Daniel “Coquito” Rodríguez. “My heart pulls for Uruguay.”
It will certainly be greater than his coronary heart as Uruguayan followers are in for a deal with as “Coquito Jr.” is able to make an influence for La Celeste, who will look to make up for the disappointing performances from their senior crew at the World Cup.