On the same day in Istanbul which is one of Istanbul's key proposed venues for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – the Ali Sami Yen Turk Telecom Arena hosted another opening match. The 52,000 all-seater stadium is one of five proposed football venues in Istanbul 2020’s candidature file and fans present on Friday night saw France beat Ghana 3-1 followed by a 4-1 win for Spain over USA. In the opening night’s other games in Kayseri, Korea Rebublic beat Cuba 2-1 and Portugal beat Nigeria 3-2. These matches were followed by a spectacular 14-minute opening ceremony showcasing Anatolian culture.
- A scene from the opening ceremony of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 A scene from the opening ceremony of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013
- Cuba's goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez greets officials before his country's match with Korea Republic Cuba's goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez greets officials before his country's match with Korea Republic
- FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Turkey's Sports Minister Suat Kilic greet Korea Republic players before the opening match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Turkey's Sports Minister Suat Kilic greet Korea Republic players before the opening match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013
The selection of Turkey to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which features 52 games in total across seven Turkish cities, provides the country’s sport authorities with further experience of holding major, international events. Over the past seven years Turkey has held more than 40 major sporting competitions and, as well as the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the country is currently staging the 2013 Mediterranean Games in Mersin.
“The Under-20 World Cup is the first official FIFA competition Turkey has ever held and Istanbul 2020 also represents a number of historic firsts for the Olympic Movement. It would be the first time Turkey hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the first time a Games takes place across two continents simultaneously and the first time in Games history that anyone will be able to watch an Olympic or Paralympic event in Asia in the morning and another in Europe in the afternoon. To the Olympic Movement Istanbul 2020 really does represent a bridge to a new culture,” said Hasan Arat, Chairman of the Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee.
While both these events will showcase Turkey to the world, football’s mass appeal means a total of five hundred million viewers in more than 190 countries are expected to watch matches during FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013.
Tournament matches will be played in Istanbul, Bursa, Antalya, Trabzon, Rize, Kayseri and Gaziantep. Turkey will compete in Group C with Colombia, El Salvador and Australia. The semi-finals will be played on July 10 in Bursa and Trabzon. The match for the third place will be played on July 13 in Istanbul and the final game will be played on the same day at Istanbul's Ali Sami Yen Turk Telecom Arena.
Jim Boyce, Organising Committee Chairman for FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013, said, “As you know, Turkey are bidding to host the Olympic Games and obviously this tournament, which is going to go out worldwide, is hopefully going to show Turkey in the proper light.
“I know that the football public in Turkey are eagerly looking forward to this event. The FIFA Under-20 World Cup is second only to the FIFA World Cup, so I think this is a very important occasion for Turkish football and a very important occasion for Turkey as a country.”