Held across seven host cities from 30 May – 20 June, the FIFA U-20 World Cup will bring together 24 teams from across the world to the shores of New Zealand, all ready to battle it out in stadia across the country in the hopes of being crowned U-20 World Football Champions. The official draw of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 was held in Auckland, New Zealand, on Tuesday night (10.02.15) and the stage is now set for what is sure to become one of the most thrilling football events the country has ever seen.
Group A sees home side New Zealand take on tournament newcomers Myanmar, USA and Ukraine in games taking place in Auckland and the Northland city of Whangarei.
Group B, based in New Zealand’s capital city Wellington, sees Argentina, Panama, Austria and an African CAF team yet to be determined, play their first games at the harbourside Westpac Stadium.
Hamilton, the home of The Hobbiton Movie Set and the ancient Waitomo Caves, awaits Group C which includes Qatar, Colombia, Portugal and an African CAF team (to be determined). Mexico, Africa CAF, Uruguay and Serbia will face each other in Group D in the sport-loving city of Dunedin.
Africa CAF, fan-favourites Brazil, Korea DPR and Hungary make up Group E, who will play in the North Island city of New Plymouth – a place renowned for great surf breaks and breath-taking landscapes.
Germany, Fiji, Uzbekistan and Honduras complete the draw in Group F and will play in Christchurch, known as the gateway to the South Island.
FIFA Vice President, Jeffrey Webb, who was in New Zealand for the draw, said hosting the tournament in New Zealand was a “great decision for FIFA”.
“The U-20 World Cup is a superb competition that inspires many youths and creates the future stars of football. We hope that this will be the case in New Zealand this year too.
This is the third FIFA tournament to be held in New Zealand. The country has already hosted the FIFA U-17 World Championship in 1999 and the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in 2008. The tournament follows another major sporting event to be held in New Zealand in 2015 - the ICC Cricket World Cup which begins in Christchurch on February 14, 2015.