2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips

England won the 2017 U-20 World Cup but failed to qualify for the 2019 tournament in Poland (Getty Images)

What is the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup?

The 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup will be the 22nd edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The FIFA U-20 World Cup is a football world championship tournament played every two years. It is Organised by FIFA and open to national teams featuring male players under 20-years-old.

The U-20 World Cup began in 1977 with the first edition held in Tunisia which was won by the Soviet Union. The tournament was known as the FIFA World Youth Championship until 2005 when it was rebranded as the FIFA U-20 World Cup. There is a corresponding event for women’s football called the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup that started in 2002. 

The 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup will be hosted by Poland between 23 May and 15 June 2019. It will be the first time Poland have single handedly hosted a FIFA tournament. 

What cities and stadiums will host matches at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup?

Six cities in Poland will host matches including Bielsko-Biała (Stadion Miejski), Bydgoszcz (Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak Stadium), Gdynia (Stadion GOSiR), Łódź (Stadion Widzewa), Lublin (Arena Lublin) and Tychy (Stadion Miejski).

The opening game and final will take place at the Stadion Widzewa in Łódź.

Who Qualifies for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup?

There are 24 teams that qualify for the final tournament. 23 countries go through a qualification process with the final spot awarded to the host nation who qualify automatically.

The defending champions have to qualify in the various youth championships throughout the six confederations as outlined below.

AFC (Asia)AFC U-19 Championship
CAF (Africa)African Youth Championship
CONCACAF (North, Central America and Caribbean)CONCACAF Under-20 Championship
CONMEBOL (South America)South American Youth Championship
UEFA (Europe)UEFA European U-19 Championship
OFC (Oceania)OFC Under 20 Qualifying Tournament

2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup winners England won't defend their title after losing 3–0 to Norway in a play-off for the final qualifying place at the 2018 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Finland. England are the sixth consecutive champions to have failed to qualify for the subsequent U-20 World Cup.

Who has won the most FIFA U-20 World Cups?

Ten different nations have won the U-20 World Cup with 36 nations reaching at least the semi-finals of the tournament. Argentina are the most successful nation having won the U-20 World Cup six times with the latest in 2007. 

South American rivals Brazil are next best with five wins, also holding the unwanted record of being the nation that have been runners-up a record four times.

Portugal and Serbia have both won the U-20 World Cup twice, six nations winning once including Ghana, Spain, Soviet Union, West Germany, England and France. 

Brazil have the most appearances at the U-20 World Cup, taking part in 18 tournaments and also hold the record for the most consecutive tournaments at 16 between 1981 and 2011.

Recent FIFA U-20 World Cup WInners, Runners-Up, Third Place and Fourth Place

Third Place
Fourth Place

2017South KoreaEnglandVenezuelaItalyUrurguay
2015New ZealandSerbiaBrazilMaliSenegal
2009EgyptGhanaBrazilHungaryCosta Rica
2007CanadaArgentina Czech RepublicChileAustria

FIFA U-20 World Cup performances by continental zones

Breaking down the titles by confederations, CONMEBOL (South America) has the most with eleven titles, UEFA (Europe) have won nine titles and CAF (Africa) won once after Ghana emerged victorious in 2009.

Teams from the AFC (Asia) and CONCACAF (North America, Central America, Caribbean) have made the U-20 World Cup final on three occasions but fell at the final hurdle against nations from Europe (UEFA). 

A team from every confederation has made the U-20 World Cup final except the OFC (Oceania). The best performances from teams in the OFC member were Australia who reached the semifinals in 1991 and 1993. Australia are no longer a member of the OFC having joined the AFC in 2006.

FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Ball Winners

The winner of the Adidas Golden Ball is selected by the media, with the award presented to the player who is judged to have played the most outstanding football during the tournament. Since 2007 the runners-up receive the Silver Ball and Bronze Ball awards. 

Some of the previous winners of the Adidas Golden Ball at the U-20 World Cup include Diego Maradona (1979), Lionel Messi (2005), Sergio Aguero (2007) and Paul Pogba (2013).

FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Boot Winners

The Golden Boot is an award for the top goalscorer at the U-20 World Cup. If more than one player scores the same amount of goals, the player with most assists wins the award.

Some of the most outstanding players in recent history have won the golden boot, silver boot or bronze boot since the U-20 World Cup began in 1977. These include Diego Maradona, Davor Suker, David Trezeguet, Adriano, Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero.

FIFA U-20 World Golden Gloves Winners

The Golden Gloves Award began in 2009 and is awarded to the player judged to have been the best goalkeeper of the tournament. The first winner was Costa Rica’s Esteban Alvarado, followed by Portugal’s Mika (2011), Uruguay’s Guillermo de Amores (2013), Serbia’sPredrag Rajković (2015) and England’s Freddie Woodman in 2017.

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