Mexico will have a tough task after being placed in the Group of Death in the U20 World Cup draw held this Sunday. Mexico, who was seeded in Group B, will face South American champions Ecuador as well as European runners up Italy. Closing out the group will be Japan, one of the tougher sides in Asia (although they only reached the semifinals in their continental championship). Mexico qualified to the U20 World Cup after finishing second in the CONCACAF U20 Championship in November, which was held in Bradenton, Florida.
The U20 World Cup will be held in Poland from May 23 to June 15. Mexico will play all their group stages matches in the coastal city of Gdynia in Northern Poland. and will open their tournament facing Italy on May 23. They will then face Japan on May 26 and close against Ecuador on May 29. In a strange coincidence, Mexico went as close as possible to having the same group it had in the 2002 World Cup, as they only missed Croatia, who didn’t qualify to the U20 World Cup, from completing it.
For Coach Diego Ramirez it will be a tough challenge. The U20 team didn’t look particularly well in November although some players have improved in their club performances, most notably Jose Juan Macías in León. The big question is if Diego Lainez will be able to play with the team, which looks unlikely now that he’s playing with Real Betis and they might look to be considering him for the Senior National team. Mexico will need all the help they can’t get even when the top 4 3rd placed teams qualify to the next round. The last time Mexico was in the group of death in a youth tournament in the 2015 U20 World Cup, Mexico failed to make it out of the Group as they finished in last place with a team led by Hirving Lozano and Erick Gutierrez. The group winner, Serbia, would eventually win the World Cup.