INTO GROUP B
US U-20’s paired with Panama, Suriname
GUATEMALA CITY – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn into Group B of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship along with Panama and Suriname. The tournament, which serves as CONCACAF qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, will be held from March 28-April 10 in Guatemala.
Defending champion Costa Rica will head Group C and play Canada and Guadeloupe in the first round of while five-time champion Mexico will play Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba in Group D. Host Guatemala takes on Central American rival Honduras and Jamaica in Group A.
Details on the match schedule will be released at a later date. The event will be divided between the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores, a 30,000-capacity venue used for Guatemala national team matches, and the 16,000-seat Estadio Cementos Progreso, which serves as home to Guatemalan club Comunicaciones.
The top two teams in each of the four groups will advance to the all-important quarterfinal round, with the four quarterfinal winners advancing to the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup that will take place from July 29-Aug. 20 in Colombia.
Should the U.S. advance through the group phase, they will play one of the top two finishers in Group A.
The U.S. will be looking to advance to their eighth consecutive FIFA U-20 World Cup, and 13th overall.
“We are very excited to learn our opponents so we can now focus on the final stages of getting ready for the tournament,” said U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen. “There are no easy groups, and obviously the quarterfinal match is critical for our goal of reaching the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The teams that advance out of our group are looking at three potentially strong opponents in the host team, Honduras and Jamaica, so we know it will be a big challenge. We are very pleased with our preparations up to this point, and we are looking forward to a great event in Guatemala.”
Panama advanced to the final round of qualifying after going undefeated in their three-team group in the Central American preliminary round, which was held in Panama in November of last year. The Panamanians posted consecutive 1-0 shutouts against Costa Rica and Nicaragua to win Triangular 1 and progress to next month’s event in Guatemala.
Suriname reached the tournament as the final qualifier from the Caribbean Zone, having hosted and won the second round of qualifying from that region after going undefeated against Bermuda, Guyana and Netherlands Antilles. Those teams were the second-place finishers in their groups in the first round, earning them one more chance to qualify for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
The U.S. received an automatic berth to the final round of qualifying along with Canada, Mexico and host Guatemala.
The 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup is slated for eight cities across Colombia: Armenia, Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, Manizales, Medellin and Periera.
Trinidad & Tobago