Two years after the 2017 edition won by England (which will not be able to defend the title), in Poland is about to begin the Under 20 World Cup, the highest competition for the players born from 1999 onwards. Among the reasons to follow the competition, which includes 24 selections and which starts on May 23rd and ends on June 15th, there is not only the presence of Italy, but also the awareness that in the past the tournament was won by future champions including Maradona, Romario, Boban, Rui Costa, Riquelme, Xavi and Pogba. They do not play in Warsaw or in Krakow, but in six lesser-known locations such as Bielsko-Biala, Bydgoszcz (where the Azzurri will play the three group stage matches against Mexico, Ecuador and Japan), Gdynia, Lublin, Tychy and Lodz, which will host the final. There not will be teams like Brazil, Spain and Germany, and also many potential stars like Joao Felix, Moise Kean, Matteo Guendouzi, Samuel Chukwueze and Ritsu Doan, but let’s focus on who will be there: we chose ten players to watch carefully, even if there would be many more.
Born: May 17, 2000
Italian national team arrives in Poland without Donnarumma, Bastoni, Zaniolo, Tonali and Kean but with an equally remarkable potential that promise very well. In the Nicolato’s hypothetical 4-3-1-2 we are aiming strong at the right-back to which AC Milan has not renewed (inexplicably) the contract and which in January has settled in Bordeaux.
Born: May 17, 2000
Club: Celtic (on loan from PSG)
We have already seen it in Petit Princes, YARD’s documentary on the most promising youngsters of Paris Saint Germain and now we want to see him at work. George’s son, who has been on loan at Celtic Glasgow for the last six months, is undoubtedly one of the best players of his national team, the US.
Born: August 16, 1999
Club: Borussia Monchengladbach
Let’s start with a premise: the French selection has a really exaggerated average quality rate and choosing one player to follow carefully is almost impossible. Among the 21 players called-up, however, we really like this left-handed midfielder who plays in Germany and whom we had already noticed during the last U19 European Championships.
Born: March 23, 1999
Position: left winger
Club: Atlanta United
Just twenty years old and already two tournaments in his palmares: the Copa Sudamericana won with the Independente and the MLS championship won with its current team, Atlanta United: small and talented, Barco is without doubt one of the most interesting prospects of the new albiceleste generation.
Born: June 9, 2000
Position: offensive midfielder
Club: Betis Seville
Well-known in his home country for being one of the most interesting players of recent years, Lainez was bought by Betis last January for something like 20 million euros, an important figure for what has become the record investment of a European club for a young Mexican. He has already scored in the Europa League and this is another important showcase to prove his qualities.
Juan Camilo ‘Cucho’ Hernandez
Born: April 22, 1999
Club: Huesca (on loan from Watford)
We know very well that the Pozzo family has a special feeling with the young Colombians (let’s think about Muriel, Cuadrado and Zapata) and so let’s trust once again: this young Watford-owned striker has contributed to the historic promotion of Huesca and after a another year on loan in Spain will return to the base, who knows that we will not see him soon in Italy.
Born: February 11, 1999
Club: Leganes (on loan from Real Madrid)
He could not miss a goalkeeper in this list, and this is not a normal one: the Ukrainian goalkeeper played in the Europa League with Zorya and then went to Real Madrid, who sent him on loan for the last six months. For him, who already was called-up in the major national team, this is an appointment in which he will have to demonstrate his immense skills.
Born: March 18, 1999
Club: Manchester United
Portugal has an amazing squad, if only because there are so many players already seen at the last European Under-19 Championship which they also won. There are so many talents still playing at home at Porto and Benfica, but Diogo Dalot has already shown off himself with Manchester United, both in the league and in the Champions League, as a formidable guy.
Born: August 26, 1999
Club: Perugia (on loan from Bologna)
Could we not include an African football player? In Nigeria’s squad, there is indeed a gritty midfielder who, if you used to follow the Italian Serie B, will certainly have noticed, having just finished a great season with Perugia’s shirt: Kingsley will return to Bologna after the World Under-20 Cup, the team that own him, to play his chance in A.
Born: February 19, 2001
Team: South Korea
Position: offensive midfielder
The last name is the most exotic, and above all the youngest: protagonist of a reality show when he was only six years old, the last great hope of South Korean football grew in the Valencia Academy and during the last season he started to train with the first team, making his debut in La Liga already in January, only 17 years old.