FOOTBALL Preview: U.S. and Mexico favored in CONCACAF men’s U-20 Champs

The 22nd edition of the CONCACAF men’s U-20 Championship is set to start at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida (USA), running from 1-21 November, with all 34 national federations fielding a team included. The first round will be played in six groups (CONCACAF ranking shown):

Group A: United States (1), Trinidad & Tobago (9), Suriname (18), Puerto Rico (21), St. Vincent & the Grenadines (25), U.S. Virgin Islands (31)

Group B: Mexico (2), Jamaica (12), Aruba (17), Nicaragua (19), Grenada (26), Saint Martin (36)

Group C: Honduras (3), Cuba (7), Antigua & Barbuda (13), Dominican Republic (20), Belize (29), Sint Maarten (35)

Group D: Panama (4), Canada (11), St. Kitts & Nevis (15), Guadeloupe (22), Dominica (30), Martinique (32)

Group E: Costa Rica (5), Haiti (10), Bermuda (14), Saint Lucia (23), Barbados (28)

Group F: El Salvador (6), Guatemala (8), Curacao (16), Guyana (24), Cayman Islands (27)

The group stage will run from 1-10 November, followed by the playoffs on 13-16-19-21 November. The winner of each group will advance to the second round, where two groups of three teams will play another round-robin tournament, with the second-round winners advancing to the final.

The real prize is making the semifinals, as the top four teams in the tournament will qualify for the FIFA men’s U-20 World Cup, to be played next year in Poland.

The U.S. is the defending champion, having won its first CONCACAF U-20 title in 2017 in Costa Rica. Mexico has been the most successful nation, winning 13 titles in all, including the prior three (2011-13-15) before the U.S. won in 2017.

Look for match results here.