The U.S. Under-20 men’s youth national team will face Ecuador, Fiji and Slovakia in Group B at the 2023 Under-20 World Cup which will be staged from May 20-June 11 in Argentina.
The draw took place Friday morning at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
The tournament recently was moved to Argentina from Indonesia and preparations for the competition are ongoing. FIFA will release a complete tournament schedule with the order of group matches, venues and kickoff times in the near future.
The USA is the only nation to reach the quarterfinals of the last three U-20 World Cups and is one of three countries to qualify to the last five U-20 World Cups alongside New Zealand and Uruguay.
The U-20 World Cup features 24 countries divided into six groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group, as well as the four best third-place teams advance to the Round of 16. From there, the tournament will feature a knockout bracket to the tournament final.
The U.S. was drawn out of Pot 1 which also included Argentina, Uruguay, France, Senegal and Italy. Teams were placed into pots based on a ranking system determined by success in the last five FIFA U-20 World Cups, with more recent tournament results weighted more heavily, as well as performance in Confederation qualifying tournaments.
The U-20 World Cup will be the 23rd overall world championship for this age group. The first 15 were held as the FIFA World Youth Championship before the competition assumed its current name in 2007. The USA’s best finish came at the 1989 tournament in Saudi Arabia, as the team led by future USMNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller took fourth.
During the most recent tournament at the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland, the USA finished sixth after a comeback win in the Round of 16 against France. Eleven players from that tournament have gone on to represent the senior squad, while two were a part of the U.S. roster at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last winter.
The USA qualified for the 2023 U-20 World Cup as it took home its third straight Confederation crown at the Concacaf U-20 Championship in Honduras. The U.S. rolled to seven straight wins at the tournament, including a strong 2-0 quarterfinal victory vs. Costa Rica to clinch its World Cup berth. A 3-0 win vs. host Honduras sent the U.S. men to the Olympics for the first time since 2008 while a dominant 6-0 triumph against the Dominican Republic in the tournament final secured the Concacaf crown.
This will mark the third consecutive meeting between the U.S. and Ecuador at the U-20 World Cup. La Tri sent the USA home from the 2019 tournament with a 2-1 defeat in the quarterfinals as forward Tim Weah scored for the USA. The nations drew 3-3 in a back-and-forth group stage match at the 2017 tournament that saw forward Josh Sargent bag a brace and midfielder Luca de la Torre net an equalizer at the death. Ecuador clinched South America’s final World Cup spot with a fourth-place finish in the final group stage at the 2023 CONMEBOL U-20 Championship.
The U.S. has never faced Fiji or Slovakia at the U-20 World Cup. Both are appearing in their second U-20 tournament as Fiji finished runner-up at the 2022 OFC U-19 Championship and Slovakia won a playoff match against Austria to secure UEFA’s fifth and final World Cup berth.
The U.S. was drawn out of Pot 1 which also included Argentina, Uruguay, France,