Canada looks to build on youth momentum on road to the FIFA U-20 World Cup

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Canada have their roadmap to the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019. It all starts this November when Canada will have to finish at the top of Group D to emerge from a 35-nation first-round group phase at the 2018 Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship.

From 35 nations, only the six Concacaf group winners will advance to the qualification phase from which four Concacaf nations will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019.

Canada’s Group D opponents are Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Martinique. The 2018 Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship runs from 1-21 November in Bradenton, FL, USA at the IMG Center.

“There is a great momentum in our game, especially coming out of the Toulon tournament,” said Andrew Olivieri, Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL U-20 Program Director. “This competition provides our young players with another opportunity to gain valuable experience, especially in playing against multiple matches in a short window against different types of opponents.”

Canada recently finished in sixth place at the prestigious Toulon tournament, otherwise known as the Festival International Espoirs Provence. The Canada U-21 squad, that went undefeated in the group phase before falling 1:2 to France, featured 13 teenagers born 1999 or later.

“Every time we come together, we get the chance to grow our tactical identity & build our culture,” said Olivieri. “The Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship provides our players another chance to bind together as a group.”

In the group phase, Canada will play a different opponent every second day. Canada will face Dominica on Friday 2 November, Guadeloupe on 4 November, Panama on 6 November, St. Kitts & Nevis on 8 November, and Martinique on 10 November.

Group winners then advance to the qualification stage to play in one of two round-robin groups. That second stage features matches every third day, with the newly-formed Groups G and H playing matches on Tuesday 13 November, Friday 16 November, and Monday 19 November. The top-two nations from each group qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup while the winners advance to the championship match scheduled for 21 November.

COMPETITION FORMAT:
The thirty-five participating nations will be sorted into six groups, five groups of six teams and one group of five teams, for the first-round group phase. After round robin play, the six group winners will advance to the qualification stage, where they will be divided into two groups of three teams. After a second-round robin play, the two group winners plus the second-place finishers will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Additionally, the two groups winners will advance to the tournament’s final to determine the regional champion.