Brian Eastick's team to find out their World Cup group in Colombia.
By Nicholas Veevers
The early hours of Thursday morning sees the draw for the 2011 FIFA World U20 Cup
made in Colombia, with England waiting for news on who they will face in this summer’s competition.
U20s Head Coach Brian Eastick
is in Cartagena for the draw, which will dictate where his squad will be based and who they will be playing in the competition which runs between 29 July and 20 August in eight cities across the South American nation.
Over 600 guests will be present for the draw, including such luminaries as FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, Colombian national team coach Hernan Dario Gomez and former Colombia World Cup stars Carlos Valderrama and Oscar Cordoba.
England are one of 24 countries to have qualified for the World Cup, which FIFA say is their next biggest after the Senior World Cup, thanks to their performance in last year's UEFA European U19 Championship when they reached the Semi-Final.
Eastick, who was in charge of the U20s in 2009 when they reached the previous U20 World Cup in Egypt, knows that it will be a tough assignment, whoever they are drawn out to face.
“We know from our experience in Egypt that it will be a very hard competition, against some extremely competent opposition from across the world,” said Eastick, who will be assisted by Under-21s Manager Stuart Pearce
“It’s taken very seriously by FIFA and they see it as second to only the Senior World Cup in importance, so we want to go out there and make a good impression. It's a World Cup, so any team who has qualified will be of a very good standard as U20s is a competitive year group for most of the world apart from Europe.
“This is a new set of players from 2009 and it’s a great opportunity for all of them as not only will they be able to go to a World Cup Finals in Colombia, which will be a fantastic experience in itself but the mere fact that Stuart Pearce will be with me means that there is always the opportunity to kick-on to the Under-21s next year.”
The U20s have had one game this season, which saw them lose 2-1 against France in Shrewsbury
in February but with a full pool of players to select from across several age groups, Eastick is hoping he will be able to take as strong a squad as possible to Colombia.
"We're linking the U19s
very much together so there are opportunities there for all of the players to kick-on through the system,” he added.
"We have so many fixtures coming up this summer, it's going to be very difficult to fit everything in, but some of the younger players from the Under-21s who don’t go to the Euro Finals in Denmark may come into the reckoning for Colombia along with those who played for the U19s last season to seal World Cup qualification.
"That will suit Stuart in terms of his Under-21 preparation and it will suit me as well.
"The fact that Stuart is coming to Colombia also helps and some of the boys who do go, could even play themselves into the Under-21 team.”
The full list of nations who are in the U20 World Cup is:-Asia:
Australia, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia.Africa:
Mali, Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria.Europe:
Austria, Croatia, England, France, Portugal, Spain.North and Central America:
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama.Oceania:
New Zealand or Solomon Islands (deciding match played on Friday 29 April).South America:
Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay.