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USA placed into "Group of Death" for U-20 World Cup

The U.S.' 2013 U-20 World Cup draw went about as badly as possible.

Mike Stobe

The United States will be back in the U-20 World Cup, but they may not be there for long. The Americans were drawn into a group with Spain, France and an undetermined African team on Monday, making them an unlikely candidate to advance from what is undoubtedly "The Group of Death."

Spain is considered by many to be the best U-20 team in the world thanks to players like Jose Campana, Suso and Jese Rodriguez. They won the 2012 UEFA U-19 Championship, which is how they qualified for the U-20 World Cup.

France lost to Spain in the semifinals of that tournament, but are a very strong team. Led by Paul Pogba and Samuel Umiti, France will have a couple of the tournament's best players.

Because the African U-20 Championship has not yet been completed, the African teams were not drawn on Monday so they will be drawn on March 30 instead. The team joining the U.S., Spain and France in Group A will be one of Egypt, Nigeria, Mali or Ghana.

The U.S. qualified for the U-20 World Cup with a second place finish at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Qualification was a big deal for the Americans, who missed out on the 2011 U-20 World Cup, but a group this tough will make things difficult for them once they get to Turkey for the tournament in June. The U.S. team at the U-20 World Cup should be stronger than the one that competed in the CONCACAF Championship, though, with a player like John Anthony Brooks possibly joining up and Walker Zimmerman getting fit.

The Americans will open the tournament against Spain on June 21, then play France before concluding group play against the undetermined African team. The top two teams in the group will advance to the knockout stages, as will the top four of six third place finishers.