The path that the Nigeria Flying Eagles will navigate in their quest for the the FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy will be known this Friday as the draw for the final competition will hold at the Home of FIFA in Zurich.
The draw ceremony will begin at 3pm, Nigerian time. The qualified teams are: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, Fiji, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, New Zealand, Nigeria, Senegal, Slovakia, The Gambia, Tunisia, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan.
Already, the teams have been seeded and pots are allocated. Nigeria is in Pot 3 along with Uzbekistan, Japan, Iraq, Honduras and Fiji.
In essence, the Flying Eagles will be pitches along with any of the following who are in Pot 1 – Argentina, Uruguay, USA, France or Italy. The only definitive team in Pot 1 that Nigeria will not face in the group stage is Senegal.
Any of the following in Pot 2 will be drawn in the same group with Nigeria. They are England, Korea Republic, New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.
The Flying Eagles third opponent will be drawn among Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Israel and Slovakia.
Sam Johnson will present the draw, which will be conducted by FIFA Director of Tournaments Jaime Yarza. Argentinian Football Association (AFA) President Claudio Tapia will be present, along with a couple of FIFA Legends.
One team from each pot will be drawn into each of the six groups.
FIFA’s general principle is to ensure that no group has more than one team from the same confederation drawn into it.
The 24 teams will be drawn into six groups of four, with 16 of them advancing to the knockout phase.
The tournament will begin on 20 May, the eve of FIFA’s 119th anniversary and runs through to 11 June, the eve of Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
Pot 1 – Argentina, Uruguay, USA, France, Senegal, Italy
Pot 2 – England, Korea Republic, New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia
Pot 3 – Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Japan, Iraq, Honduras, Fiji
Pot 4 – Guatemala, Dominican Republic, The Gambia, Israel, Slovakia, Tunisia