The FIFA U-20 World Cup has long been a breeding ground for some of world football’s most gifted players, with the likes of Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Robert Prosinečki, Zvonimir Boban, Adriano and Paul Pogba having blossomed at the tournament. In a nod to this history, the 2019 competition’s Official Emblem features a crocus, a flower that blooms every spring in Poland, symbolising the new faces that will emerge at next year’s event.
Each of the six Host Cities will stage a minimum of seven matches. The opening match and the final will take place in Łódź, while Bielsko-Biała, Bydgoszcz, Gdynia, Lublin and Tychy will each host at least two games featuring one of the top-seeded teams.
Besides hosts Poland, the following countries have already qualified for the tournament:
AFC: Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
Concacaf: Honduras, Mexico, Panama and the United States
OFC: New Zealand and Tahiti
UEFA: France, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Ukraine
The qualified teams from CAF and CONMEBOL will be confirmed in time for the competition draw, which will be held on 24 February in Gdynia. Fans from all over the world will be able to purchase tickets on FIFA.com right after the draw.
FIFA Deputy Secretary General (Football), Zvonimir Boban
“The FIFA U-20 World Cup Chile 1987 was an incredible milestone in my career. Not only because we won the tournament with Yugoslavia but because of the overall experience, including the final in front of an amazing crowd in Santiago.
It’s something very special to hold the FIFA U-20 World Cup in a football-loving country like Poland, which has given so much to the game in recent decades. Fans in all six Host Cities can really look forward to watching world-class talents at modern football arenas, in what promises to be a fantastic FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The U-20 World Cup is FIFA’s second-oldest competition and one that has a long-lasting influence on players’ careers. Holding this tournament in Poland in the year of the Polish FA’s centenary and with the active involvement of its president Zbigniew Boniek, a true football legend and my first coach in Italy, makes it all the more special to me.”
Polish Football Association President, Zbigniew Boniek:
“It is going to be a wonderful and very prestigious tournament. We could not have come up with a better way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Polish Football Association than hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019. After all, it is one of the biggest football events in the world. Previous editions of the tournament paved the way for many outstanding players. It was during those tournaments that the world became aware of such names as Messi, Maradona, [Andrés] Iniesta, [Antoine] Griezmann, [Mohamed] Salah and [Gerard] Piqué, to name but a few. The 2019 competition is sure to be no different and Poland is proud to welcome the best young players, the world-class stars of the future.
To be honest, I envy our young Polish players this opportunity to participate in a World Cup on home turf. I wish I were one of them. It is going to be a great experience in their fledgling careers.
By allowing us to hold such a prestigious tournament, FIFA has placed considerable trust in us. We are a reliable and proven partner for the entire football community. I am certain that our remarkable Host Cities – Bielsko-Biała, Bydgoszcz, Gdynia, Lublin, Łódź and Tychy – will rise to the occasion and that we will jointly organise a tournament of which we will all be proud.”
Polish U-20 national team captain, Tymoteusz Puchacz:
“Competing in the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 in our own country will be hard to top. The fact that our families and friends will be in the stands means we will have even more support, as well as extra motivation to perform well. It is going to be a great tournament full of gripping matches.
We are aware that previous editions of the tournament have been a stepping stone for many of the players involved. Numerous players who will participate in next year’s competition will soon be shining for some of the world’s best clubs; in fact, some of them, such as Roma’s Nicolò Zaniolo, have already made their mark at the highest level. Our national team boasts many talented players and I really hope that the U-20 World Cup 2019 will be a huge success for us. I am very much looking forward to May and to our first game.”