Friday, November 10, 2006

U-20 World Cup Coming to Canada

Did you enjoy last summer's World Cup and want another taste? Well, next July, the FIFA U-20 World Cup will be played in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Burnaby and Edmonton.

Obviously, this isn't as big of a tournament as the regular World Cup but it's still a fun international affair featuring lots of great future players. For example, the last U-20 World Cup featured Argentina's Lionel Messi who has gone on to star at Barcelona and in Germany last summer for the Argentine national team. So, this isn't a bunch of crappy town rec league players.

The only downside I see to this is that the games in Montreal will be played in Olympic Park which is (a) a crappy stadium and (b) indoors which means the games will be played on astroturf. I know there have been a lot of advances in astroturf over the years but the ball still rolls and bounces on fake turf in an exaggerated manner. It hurts the quality of the game.

Having said that, it isn't enough of a problem to keep me away.

The US will complete in a qualifying tournament in January and February to see if they advance to the finals next summer. They are favored to advance but it's a weird format and crazy stuff happens. If the US advances and plays in either Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto, I'll go there for the games. Vancouver is a long-ass flight and I don't feel like going to Edmonton and Burnaby. So, if they are playing in Western Canada, I'll just go to see whoever is playing in Montreal and watch the US team on TV.

By the way, the US team will be featuring the much-heralded Freddy Adu. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Josmer Altidore of Red Bull New York, who is the same age as Adu, steals the show. He looked great after joining Red Bull late in the season and scored four goals in eight games. Check out his sick goal against Columbus.

At this point, they've sold about 400,000 tickets. However, there are still tickets available. Unfortunately, they are still selling package deals and won't be selling individual tickets until next spring.

The schedule for the games can be seen here.

Ticket info for the games can be seen here.

The teams that have qualified so far are: Jordan, Korea Republic, Korea DPR, Japan, Spain, Scotland, Czech Rep, Austria, Poland, Portugal and Canada (as the host).

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