World Cup Schedule Set For USWNT U-20s

Gilroy, USWNT
Bellmore's Erin Gilroy with the U.S. Women's U-20 National Team.

The United States U-20 Women’s National Team will kick off the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup on August 6 as the squad sits in Group C with Japan, Paraguay and Spain.

This year’s tournament runs from August 5-24 and will be held at four venues in the Brittany region of France. The U.S. opens the tournament on Monday, August 6, against Japan at 1:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local), faces Paraguay on Tuesday, August 9, at 1:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local) and finishes the group against Spain on Monday, August 13, at 7:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m.) local.

The Americans will play its first two group games at Stade Guy-Piriou in Concarneau and its third group game at Stade du Clos Gastel in Dinan Léhon.

“It’s great that we now can really focus in on our opposition,” said Jitka Klimkova, U-20 WNT head coach. “All three teams in our group present unique challenges and all 16 teams that qualified for the World Cup are quality. I’m excited about the opportunity to compete in a group that will test our players to find ways to win.”

Klimkova and the U-20s will be in Portland, Ore., through July 12 for a final camp before she chooses her 21-player roster that will make the trip to France in August. Among the players in camp is Erin Gilroy of Bellmore, who currently plays her college soccer at the University of Tennessee.

The 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup includes 16 nations divided into four groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinal stage to be held on Thursday, August 16, and Friday, August 17. The winners of those games will advance to the tournament semifinals on Monday, August 20, at Stade de la Rabine in Vannes. The championship and third-place matches are also at Stade de la Rabine on August 24.

This tournament will be the ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup for this age level (the first two events were held as U-19 events). The USA won U-20 World Cups in 2002 in Canada, 2008 in Chile and 2012 in Japan and have finished third twice. Led by current USWNT National Team player Mallory Pugh, the USA finished fourth in Papua New Guinea in 2016.

The USA earned its berth to the World Cup by winning its semifinal match of the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament against host Haiti last January but fell to Mexico in penalty kicks in the championship game.