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France Favored to Win FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona made his name on the global stage with Argentina at the U20 World Cup. Photo By Truvianni.wordpress.com (Flickr) [CC License].
  • Twenty-four teams battle in soccer’s best youth competition
  • Many of soccer’s future stars made first international splash on U20 World Cup Stage
  • Argentina a six-time tourney winner; France favored

Some of the biggest stars in the football world have first made their name at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Diego Maradona was the star of the tournament in 1979.

Ronaldinho of Brazil first emerged in 1999. More recently, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba was the leading figure as France won the 2013 tournament in Turkey.

France is favored to win again when the next edition of the biggest competition in youth football kicks off in Poland (May 23-June 15, 2019).

FIFA Under-20 World Cup Odds

Team Odds at Bookmaker
France +375
Portugal +650
Poland +700
Argentina +1000
Nigeria +1200
Uruguay +1200
Italy +1400
Mali +1750
USA +2000
Senegal +2100

(Odds taken 05/19/2019)

Six-Time Winners

Portugal are rated second at +650, while the host nation Poland are ranked at +700 and six-time winners Argentina are at +1000.

Among the other highly-fancied teams, Nigeria and Uruguay are given +1200 odds and Italy is +1400. Mali are +1750 and the USA are +2000. The top 10 is made up by Senegal at +2100.

England, the holders, will be absent as will Brazil.

The French star could be Borussia Dortmund’s Dan Axel-Zagadou who has made over 20 appearances for the German club in the past season.

France, coached by 1998 World Cup winner Bernard Diomede, will be missing Lyon’s Amine Gouiri. He scored twice against both England and Turkey in qualifying. But he is required for the UEFA Under-21 tournament this summer.

The French star could be Borussia Dortmund’s Dan Axel-Zagadou, who has made over 20 appearances for the German club in the past season.

Reigning European Under-18 Champions

Portugal last won the tournament in 1991. They defeated Italy in the final of the European under-18 championships but are in a tough group along with Argentina. They have defeated both England and Saudi Arabia in the build-up to the competition.

Argentina were second in South American qualifying but have recently lost against Paraguay, Ecuador and Colombia while also drawing with Chile.

Poland have to be taken seriously as hosts. Their group looks well balanced. But they have been beaten during the past two seasons by Italy. Germany, England and Portugal.

Argentina have won the prize six times but the last win was in 1997. They were second in South American qualifying but have recently lost against Paraguay, Ecuador and Colombia while also drawing with Chile.

Group A Odds

Team Odds at Bookmaker
Poland +140
Senegal +220
Colombia +195
Tahiti +2750

As hosts, Poland did not have to qualify. But their form is not impressive and they have been beaten this year by England and Germany in the U-20 Elite League. Colombia finished fourth in the South American U-20 Championships to secure their place. Senegal, the first African team to qualify, were semi-finalists in 2015 and have won five of their last six fixtures, with one draw. Tahiti, massive outsiders, will be playing for pride alone.

Pick: POLAND

Group B Odds

Team Odds at Bookmaker
Italy +190
Mexico +220
Japan +410
Ecuador +300

This will be one of the most competitive groups. Ecuador won the South American qualifying tournament. Their forward Leonarda Campana was the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals. Italy are rated but have lost recently to Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Holland. Japan were third in the Asian qualifiers. Mexico were runners-up in the CONCACAF regional competition.

Pick: ECUADOR

Group C Odds

Team Odds at Bookmaker
Uruguay +145
Norway +200
New Zealand +350
Honduras +650

Uruguay have twice been finalists in 15 appearances in the competition, so they will be favored. New Zealand reached the last 16 in the previous two tournaments and won the Oceania U-19 qualifying group last year to reach these finals. Norway beat reigning U-20 World Cup holders England in a playoff to reach these finals. Honduras will be wide outsiders.

Pick: URUGUAY

Group D Odds

Team Odds at Bookmaker
USA +220
Nigeria +190
Ukraine +250
Qatar +500

This will be the “Group Of Death.” The USA have won consecutive CONCACAF U-20 championships and have players such as Paris St Germain’s Timothy Weah. Ukraine finished ahead of both England and France when reaching the semifinals of the European U-19 championships last year. Nigeria, runners up in 1980 and 2005, finished fourth in this year’s U-20 African Cup of Nations. Qatar are improving ahead of hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Pick: USA

Group E Odds

Team Odds at Bookmaker
France +115
Mali +135
Panama +650
Saudi Arabia +1250

Much-favored France have beaten Argentina and Korea Republic this year. They were winners in 2013 and hope to emulate their senior team’s World Cup triumph last year. Mali won this year’s U-20 African Cup of Nations in Niger and hope to improve on a third-place finish in 2015. Panama won all five of their qualifiers in the CONCACAF tournament and believe, too, that they can make an impact. Saudi Arabia reached the last 16 in 2017 and qualified as 2018 Asian U-19 champions –  their third success in the competition.

Pick: FRANCE

Group F Odds

Team Odds at Bookmaker
Portugal +160
Argentina +185
Korea Republic +275
South Africa +900

Argentina are six-time winners and are well-fancied again. They were second behind Ecuador in the South American championship qualifying competition this year. Portugal are the 2018 European U-18 champions. They beat current U-20 World Cup holders England 1-0 in March. South Africa were third in the 2019 U-20 African Cup of Nations. Korea Republic will find it tough after being defeated by both Ukraine and France in fixtures earlier this year.

Pick: ARGENTINA

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