As the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup in Argentina approaches, all eyes are on Nigeria’s Flying Eagles and their Group D rivals – Brazil, Italy, and the Dominican Republic.
Each team brings its unique blend of talent, experience, and ambition to the tournament, setting the stage for an exciting and fiercely contested group stage.
In this Soccernet.ng report, we delve into the key details of these teams, shedding light on their strengths, players to watch, and notable achievements.
Brazil U20 National Team
The Seleção Sub-20, led by the experienced Ramon Menezes, enters the tournament with an impeccable track record.
Menezes has yet to taste defeat as the coach of Brazil U20, culminating in their recent triumph at the 2023 South American U-20 Championship in Colombia.
The South American giants love to play attacking football and enjoy scoring many goals. Several teams will be at their mercy in Argentina.
As the second most successful nation in U-20 World Cup history, Brazil boasts an impressive pedigree with five titles, four silver medals, and three bronze medals.
The joint top scorers of the South American U-20 Championship, Vitor Roque and Andrey Santos, will spearhead their attack, with Santos bringing added experience after his senior debut in a friendly against Morocco in March.
Italy U20 National Team
Nicknamed Gli Azzurrini, Italy’s U20 team brings a rich footballing heritage to the tournament.
Headed by coach Carmine Nunziata, who steered them to consecutive silver medal finishes at the Under-17 European Football Championships in 2018 and 2019, Italy aims to make their mark on the world stage again.
The Italians have an overall record of 13 victories, eight draws, and 13 losses at the World Youth Championship.
In Argentina, Italy will rely on the creativity of 17-year-old Simone Pafundi, who made history as the youngest debutant for the Italian national team of this century.
Dominican Republic U20 National Team
Making their inaugural appearance in a FIFA World Cup at any level, the Dominican Republic’s U20 team is poised to make a strong impression.
Under the guidance of head coach Cuba Walter Benítez, they have defied expectations by qualifying for the tournament.
Player to watch, Edison Alexander Azcona Vélez, showcased his talent on both the domestic and international stage, becoming the first Inter Miami homegrown player to appear in an MLS match and playing a crucial role in his country’s qualification for the World Cup.
Nigeria’s group stage challenge
Group D of the FIFA U20 World Cup promises thrilling encounters as Nigeria’s Flying Eagles face off against formidable opponents in Brazil, Italy, and the Dominican Republic.
Brazil’s rich history and undefeated streak, Italy’s storied footballing tradition, and the Dominican Republic’s debut on the world stage contribute to the group’s dynamic and unpredictability.
As the tournament kicks off, football fans worldwide eagerly await the clash of talents and strategies that will determine the fate of these teams in their quest for U20 glory.
The Flying Eagles’ opening match will be against the Dominican Republic at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza on Sunday, May 21.