World Cup U20 2023: Brazil Returns, Argentina Misses Out

The FIFA U20 World Cup 2023 will see Brazil in the final round next summer, while Argentina shockingly misses out the tournament. 

CONMEBOL has just completed their U20 Championship this week. Brazil finally returns to the final round after missing the previous two consecutive editions in 2017 and 2019. They are accompanied by Uruguay, Colombia and Ecuador in flying to Indonesia, the host of this U20 World Cup. The tournament will be held from May 20 to June 11. 

On the contrary, record holdera, Argentina, failed to qualify. The team led by Javier Mascherano did not even make it to the final stage of the South American U20 Championship. They finished fourth in Group A’s final standings. Only the top three teams from two preliminary groups advanced to the final stage. This is quite ironic, given that their senior side clinched their third World Cup title last December

Brazil secures the berth in the U20 World Cup while Argentina crashes out

Seleção tipped as Favourites

Brazil’s success in qualifying for the final round places them among the tournament’s favourites. Their U20 team has been impressive in the regional championship. They were on the top of the table, unbeaten in five games (4-1-0). Ramon Menezes’ side conceded just one goal at the final stage, scoring ten goals. Their two key men, Vitor Rogue and Andrey Santos, were both named the top scorer with six goals each.  

The five-time champion is aiming to level their titles with Argentina at the U20 World Cup. Their arch-rival has lifted the trophy six times. The silverware in the summer would be an ideal comeback for the young Seleção in the competition. Their last appearance in an U20 World Cup was in the 2015 edition. At that time, Gabriel Jesus and co were on the verge of snatching their sixth title. Their return to the final was only to be spoiled by the surprising 2-1 defeat against Serbia. 

In the next two editions, Brazil was not able to secure one of the four berths as they only finished fifth in two consecutive CONMEBOL U20 championships. It was a huge letdown for the Samba because it had never happened before.

In Indonesia 2023, Brazil’s most likely rivals come from the 2017 champions, England, the winner of 2013 edition, France, as well as Italy and Uruguay. This is assuming they can call up all of their stars from their clubs. Brazil last won the U20 World Cup in 2011. Former Chelsea man Oscar netted a hat-trick while beating Portugal 3-2 in a thrilling encounter. 

There have only been 16 qualified teams out of 24 contestants so far. CAF (Africa) and AFC (Asia) are the last two confederations which have not completed their qualifiers. Their representatives will also be determined from their U20 championships, which begins in February and March respectively.

Argentina joins three other powerhouses

Meanwhile, is in the same boat as the other Latino powerhouses: two-time champions Portugal, the winner of 1999 edition, Spain and CONCACAF’s top side Mexico. These three teams were also unable to seal the tickets to World Cup U20 2023.

Fans will not be able to see the actions of Manchester City’s new signing, Maximo Perrone, Manchester United’s lethal winger Alejandro Garnacho or Lazio’s promising talent, Luka Romero from Argentina. The likes of PSG’s Nuno Mendes will not be there for Portgual, while  Spain’s young star, Pablo Torre will also miss out. Finally, Arsenal youngster Marcelo Flores from Mexico will not be there. Instead, this year’s edition could be the stage for some unknown talents from other teams, including those from Dominican Republic and Israel. They are the current two confirmed debutantes in the championship. 

Argentina last failed to qualify for an U20 World Cup in 2013. Meanwhile, Portugal’s last miss occurred in 2009, likewise Mexico’s. Spain has an even worse record than the other three. La Rojita has been absent in the final round since the 2015 edition. Their last performance was back in Turkey 2013. At that time, Gerard Deulofeu and  o only reached the quarterfinals before losing 1-0 to Uruguay through extra time. 

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