US U-20s drawn into World Cup group with Nigeria, Qatar, Ukraine

US U-20s - Celebration - 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship

The US Under-20 national team learned their World Cup assignments on Sunday, as FIFA held its draw for the 2019 U-20 World Cup in Poland this spring.

Tab Ramos’ side will face Ukraine, Nigeria and Qatar in Group D, an intriguing and potentially tough slate for the back-to-back reigning U-20 champions of Concacaf. Honduras, Mexico and Panama are the region's other three representatives. 

The United States open their U-20 World Cup on Friday, May 24 against Ukraine at Bielsko-Biala Stadium in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, then meet Nigeria on Monday May 27 at the same venue. Ramos & Co. wrap up the group stage vs. Qatar on Thursday, May 30 at Tychy Stadium in Tychy. (All kickoff times 2:30 pm ET).

Ukraine qualified by finishing in the top four at the 2018 UEFA European U-19 Championship in Finland, winning a group that included France and defending U-20 World Cup champions England before falling to eventual champions Portugal, 5-0, in the semifinals. The US are 0-1-1 against the Eastern Europeans in U-20 World Cup play, with the nations' last meeting coming in 2015.

Nigeria reached Poland by finishing fourth at the 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger, snatching the continent’s final qualifying slot. The Super Eagles defeated the US 2-1 in extra time in their only previous U-20 World Cup meeting, back in 1989, and finished as tournament runners-up in the 1989 and 2005 editions.

Fast-rising Qatar are one of four Asian teams in the tournament, an achievement reached by advancing to the semifinals of the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship. They drew 1-1 with the US in a group-stage meeting in 1981, their only previous U-20 World Cup clash.

2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup groups

  • Group A: Poland, Colombia, Tahiti, Senegal
  • Group B: Mexico, Italy, Japan, Ecuador
  • Group C: Honduras, New Zealand, Uruguay, Norway
  • Group D: Qatar, Nigeria, Ukraine, USA
  • Group E: Panama, Mali, France, Saudi Arabia
  • Group F: Portugal, Korea Republic, Argentina, South Africa