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Some of the best international soccer players still in their teens face off in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The U.S. has a talented team yet aren’t considered one of the favorites.
The future of international soccer will be on display from May 23 to June 15, as 24 of the top U-20 teams in the world converge in Poland for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Held every two years, the tournament features up-and-coming players still in their teens (the U-20 designation means under 20 years of age). The United States is considered to be in the “dark horse” tier of challengers, with France, Portugal, Argentina, Mexico, and Italy all considered favorites, and with 2017 winners England and perennial power Brazil both failing to qualify.
What is the FIFA U-20 World Cup?
Started in 1977 as the FIFA World Youth Championship, the tournament has crowned a winner every two years since, adopting its current name for the 2007 edition. With the U-23 version of the tournament folding into the Olympics (and allowing for three senior players per squad), the U-20s is the highest-level tournament FIFA hosts for men’s teams outside of the quadrennial World Cup. It’s also a great way to spot future first-team international players at a crucial juncture in their development; some of the players who shine here have a good shot of starting World Cup matches in 2022 in Qatar or in 2026 when the U.S., Canada, and Mexico co-host.
The U-20s are organized like the upcoming Women’s World Cup: Six groups of four teams each compete in the group stage, and then the winners and 2nd place teams in each group advance to the knockout rounds, along with the top four of six third-place teams in each group. Those 16 teams face off in win-or-go-home matches, halving the field with each round leading to the June 15 final.
Which FIFA U-20 World Cup teams should you know?
The Americans will field an exciting team led by U.S. Soccer veteran player and coach Tab Ramos. Players like Tim Weah (who have played first-team soccer at both PSG and Celtic), Konrad de la Fuente (with Barcelona’s B team), Ulysses Llanez (with Wolfsburg’s youth team), Chris Richards (a touted FC Dallas Academy player now with Bayern Munich’s youth squad), Sergino Dest (with Ajax’s youth team), and Richard Ledezma (with the PSV Eindhoven youth team) are taking valuable European experience into the tournament. The team is also anchored by players who are already getting MLS first-team minutes, including the Philadelphia Union’s Mark McKenzie and Matthew Real, FC Dallas’s Paxton Pomykal and Edwin Cerrillo, and D.C. United’s Chris Durkin.
France has a loaded squad that includes Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont, PSG winger Moussa Diaby, and Borussia Dortmund centerback Dan-Axel Zagadou. Mexico’s squad includes Real Betis winger Diego Lainez (who already has played with the senior El Tri team) and Argentina’s team includes Ezequiel Barco, one of the South American standouts featuring with reigning MLS champs Atlanta United.
When does the USMNT play?
The USMNT will play Ukraine on Friday, May 24, Nigeria on Monday, May 27, and Qatar on Thursday, May 30. All three matches start at 2:30pm ET.)
FIFA U-20 World Cup live stream: Watch FIFA U-20 World Cup matches for free
Each of the following services carry FS1 and FS2 and provide a one-week trial and therefore an easy way to watch FIFA U-20 World Cup matches for free.
1) Sling TV
- Sling TV pricing: $25-$40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, Microsoft Edge, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
Sling TV provides two base channel package options, each priced at $25 per month. Sling Orange includes three ESPN channels, while Sling Blue includes sports channels like NFL Network, FS1 and FS2, NBCSN, and local channels. If you’re Team “Why Not Both,” Sling Orange + Blue combines the two for just $40 per month. To add beIN SPORTS and maximize your soccer-watching potential, you’ll want to add either Sports Extra: Sling Orange ($5 per month) or Sports Extra: Sling Blue ($10 per month). (The latter also includes NFL RedZone.)
Spanish-speaking viewers have quite a few options. For bilingual families, you might consider the Español: Best of Spanish TV package for either Sling Orange or Sling Blue for 24/7 specialty channel LaLiga TV and beIN SPORTS Connect: Channels 4-9, which features matches from LaLiga, Ligue 1 and Copa del Rey, among others. Both packages cost $5 per month after your free trial. Sling TV Latino is another Spanish-language package for $10 per month, including NBC Universo, History en Español, and—of import to soccer fans—four beIN SPORTS channels. (And choosing Sling TV Latino + Sling Orange for $30 per month gives you access to ESPN Deportes.) For more information, check out our guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.
- Cost: $44.99 for the first month, $54.99 per month thereafter (after a 7-day free trial)
- FuboTV devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Android TV, iOS and Android devices
- FuboTV local channels: Fox, NBC, CBS (check local availability here)
FuboTV is a solid TV streaming service option, whether your tastes run to entertainment (AMC, Syfy, FX), news (MSNBC, CNN), or sports (NBA TV, NFL Network). If you’re a soccer fan, however, it will appear tailor-made for you, with 10 beIN SPORTS channels, NBCSN, FS1, FS2, UniMás, and Champions League actions via TNT all on tap. If you can’t watch a match live, FuboTV offers a three-day replay for each match and 30 hours of cloud DVR. (Check out the complete FuboTV channels list.)
FuboTV also has bilingual families in mind; each subscription comes with UniMás, Galavisión, NBC Universo, beIN SPORTS, Univision, and Fox Deportes. An extra $7.99 per month will bring you Latino Plus, which includes CNN en Español and TyC Sports among its offerings.
- Cost: $44.99-$79.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- PlayStation Vue devices: PlayStation 3 and 4, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Kodi, iOS and Android devices
- PlayStation Vue local channels: NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
PlayStation Vue is a fantastic option for soccer fans who already own a PlayStation console, but this streaming platform is available on a variety of devices. TNT is part of a basic package of channels that offer soccer and other sports program, and the options increase at the Core, Elite, and Ultra levels.
- Cost: $44.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
Hulu with Live TV includes sports programming among its broad spectrum of offerings, and as a subscriber to the service, you’ll get free access to Hulu’s sizable on-demand library. (Check out the full list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
5) YouTube TV
- Cost: $50 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- YouTube TV local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
YouTube TV is a great option for soccer fans, including TNT for Champions League matches, NBCSN for Premier League matches, and broadcasting partnerships with three MLS teams. (Take a look at the full list of YouTube TV channels here.)
FIFA U-20 World Cup winners
- 2017: England
- 2015: Serbia
- 2013: France
- 2011: Brazil
- 2009: Ghana
- 2007: Argentina
- 2005: Argentina
Here is the complete list of winners, dating back to the first edition in 1977.
2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup groups
- Group A: Colombia, Poland, Senegal, Tahiti
- Group B: Ecuador, Japan, Mexico, Poland
- Group C: Honduras, New Zealand, Norway, Uruguay
- Group D: Nigeria, Qatar, Ukraine, USA
- Group E: France, Mali, Panama, Saudi Arabia
- Group F: Argentina, Korea Republic (South Korea), Portugal, South Africa
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Phil West is a sports reporter and the author of two books on soccer, ‘The United States of Soccer,’ and ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ both from The Overlook Press. His work has appeared most recently in MLSSoccer.com, Pro Soccer USA, Texas Highways, and Howler. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.