By Albert Akota
Portugal, who got the better of Nigeria in a 2-0 in the Final of the FIFA U20 World Cup in Riyadh in 1989, and Argentina, who beat the Flying Eagles to the trophy in The Netherlands in 2005, have both failed to make the cut as the field for this year’s FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Indonesia filled up at the weekend.
Europe’s flag bearers will be England, France, Israel, Italy and Slovakia, while South America will be represented by Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Ecuador – leaving out both Portugal and Argentina from the equation. Even Cup holders Ukraine got bumped in the qualifying race.
All 24 finalists have emerged following the conclusion of the Africa U20 Cup in Egypt at the weekend, with champions Senegal, vice champions The Gambia, third-placed Nigeria and fourth-placed Tunisia to bear the touch for the continent.
Reigning vice champions Korea Republic, Uzbekistan, Iraq and Japan will be flying Asia’s flag, while USA, Honduras, Guatemala and Dominican Republic will represent North and Central America. Fiji and New Zealand will bear the flag of Oceania.
All the teams will be in the four different pots for the Draw to be conducted at the Taman Werdhi Budaya Art Centre in Denpasar, Bali with Nigeria already slotted into Pot 3. African champions Senegal stay in Pot 1 alongside Italy, USA and France while The Gambia and Tunisia have homes in Pot 4.
The teams will be drawn in six groups of four teams each, with the top two teams from each group and the four best third-place finishers in the six groups making the progress to the Round of 16.
Ukraine won the last championship in France in 2019, having defeated Korea Republic 3-1.