US to play Ukraine, Nigeria, Qatar at U20 World Cup soccer
The United States was drawn to play Ukraine, Nigeria and Qatar in the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
The U.S. opens Group D play against Ukraine on May 24, then faces Nigeria three days later and Qatar on May 30, according to Sunday’s draw. The first two matches are in Bielsko-Biala and the third in Tychy.
Sixteen teams advance to the second round — the top two in each group and the best four third-place teams. The final is in Lodz on June 15.
The U.S reached the quarterfinals two years ago with a roster that included Josh Sargent, Tyler Adams, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Auston Trusty and Erik Palmer-Brown. Sargent scored four goals and earned the Silver Boot for the Americans, who were eliminated by eventual runner-up Venezuela.
Adams, Sargeant and Tim Weah are eligible for the tournament, but they may not be available if U.S. national team coach Gregg Berhalter selects them for his CONCACAF Gold Cup roster. U.S. Under-20 coach Tab Ramos said he will talk closer to the tournament with U.S. men’s general manager Earnie Stewart and Berhalter.
A preliminary roster of 35 players must be submitted to FIFA by April 1, and Ramos is aware that some players may not be available to report until just before the tournament.
Ramos is heading from the draw in Gdynia, Poland, to Germany and the Netherlands to determine the availability of players and also is speaking with Major League Soccer teams. Preparing to coach in his fourth Under-20 World Cup, Ramos expects players from his team to emerge this year, similar to the success of the 2017 team.
“I think this group has a lot of talent with guys that could potentially be eght-to-10-year national team players,” he said.
Defending champion England failed to qualify for the tournament.
The rest of the draw:
Group A — Colombia, Poland, Senegal, Tahiti
Group B — Ecuador, Japan, Italy, Mexico
Group C — Honduras, New Zealand, Norway, Uruguay
Group E — France, Mali, Panama, Saudi Arabia
Group F — Argentina, Portugal, South Africa South Korea