cover photo from US Soccer
Earlier this week the U20 World Cup draw was revealed, slotting twenty-four teams into six groups of four. The top two will automatically advance into the knockout stage while the top four 3rd place teams will fill out the final spots. USA was given a favorable group and are looking to follow up last cycle's positive performance, where they reached the final eight before losing to eventual champions Serbia in penalty kicks.
Below are advancement percentages and Elo ratings for all the U20 World Cup teams. With 16 of the 24 teams advancing, all the percentages are fairly high. Obviously these ratings should be taken with a grain of salt, as teams are quick to change from one year to the next, but they do offer a general guide to where teams are. The Elo ratings include all World Cup matches and date back to UEFA's first youth tournament in 1949.
Group F is the most even between all four teams, making first place the most reachable but also holding a realistic last place finish for all four teams. Groups A and D contain multiple powerhouses and will be a fight to the last minute in each of those matches.
The 2017 U20 World Cup, hosted in South Korea, starts May 20th. The US opens their first match against Ecuador on the 22nd at 4am eastern time.