The US and Canadian U-20 men’s national teams learned their first step of qualifying for the 2021 World Cup in Indonesia, as Concacaf held a group-stage draw on Wednesday for the Concacaf U-20 Championship.
The US are drawn into Group E alongside Costa Rica, Jamaica and St. Kitts & Nevis, and the top three teams will advance to a single-elimination knockout tournament. Canada are joined by Mexico, El Salvador and Aruba in Group F. Altogether, 12 teams from Groups E through H will advance to that phase, as will four group-stage winners from another tournament that features 17 participating countries ranked from 17-41.
At the knockout phase, there will be Round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches. The four semifinalists will advance to the World Cup, relying on a competition format that mirrors the U-17 Concacaf Championship. The group stage will take place next June, with the knockout phase immediately following.
The US U-20s have reached the quarterfinals of the group stage three straight times, and are the only country to accomplish that across the 2015, 2017 and 2019 tournaments. But they’ll need to find a new coach, as Tab Ramos has taken over managerial duties for the Houston Dynamo. The US have made four straight U-20 World Cups, and last missed out in 2011. Canada have not qualified for the U-20 World Cup since 2007.
Here are all four groups for the top-seeded tournament:
- Group E – USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis
- Group F – Mexico, El Salvador, Canada, Aruba
- Group G – Panama, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname
- Group H – Honduras, Cuba, Guatemala, Antigua & Barbuda