The United States got an incredibly good draw for the U-20 World Cup this summer. On top of getting hosts New Zealand, they have been paired with Myanmar and Ukraine, making them a huge favorite to advance out of the group.
New Zealand were considered the weakest team in Pot 1, having been placed there just because they are hosts. Myanmar just barely qualified, benefitting from being the qualifying hosts and an easy road through that tournament. Ukraine are easily the toughest team the U.S. will play, but even they finished third in their group in UEFA qualifying.
That the Americans got a weak group this time around is only fair. Two years ago, they were killed by the draw and grouped with Spain, France and Ghana in the U-20 World Cup. It was brutal, and it's only fair that they get a gift group for this summer's tournament.
There is no doubt that the U.S. are the favorites in Group A. On top of the draw doing them a huge favor, they are a very good team. Led by Emerson Hyndman, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Rubio Rubin, the Americans have a very strong team and one of their most talented in years. They may even add Gedion Zelalem to the squad. Tab Ramos' side did struggle in qualifying so there are questions about whether he can put together a good team, but there is no doubt that they are plenty talented.
The U.S. will open the tournament on May 30 against Myanmar. Three days later, they will take on New Zealand, and then they will close things out against the Ukraine. if they win the group, they will play their Round of 16 match on June 10 against a third place team, then a quarterfinal against a group runner up, so everything is set up for a deep run if the Americans can make the most of their enormous potential.
Fox has the TV rights to the tournament. There is no word yet on their broadcast plans.
- U.S. vs. Myanmar; May 30, 8 a.m. ET - Northland Events Centre, Whangarei
- U.S. vs. New Zealand; June 2, 11 a.m. ET - North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
- U.S. vs. Ukraine; June 5, 11 a.m. ET - North Harbour Stadium, Auckland