Argentina national under-20 football team

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Argentina Under-20
Nickname(s) Albicelestes
(White and Sky blue)
Association Argentine Football Association
Confederation CONMEBOL (South America)
Head coach Humberto Grondona
Captain Emanuel Mammana
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Argentina 5–0 Venezuela 
(Buenos Aires, Argentina; 27 February 1951)
FIFA U-20 World Cup
Appearances 14 (First in 1979)
Best result Winners 1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2007
South American Youth Championship
Appearances 26 (First in 1958)
Best result Winners 1967, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2015

The Argentina national under-20 football team is the representative of Argentina in FIFA sponsored tournaments that pertain to that age level.

Argentina is the most successful nation in the FIFA World Youth Championship, winning the competition a record six times. The team has participated in 14 of the 20 World Championship events, since the 1979 edition, which they won. Argentina has also won five South American Youth Championships.

Many of Argentina's top players came through the ranks of the youth teams, including Sergio Agüero, Pablo Aimar, Nicolás Burdisso, Esteban Cambiasso, Ángel Di María, Ramón Díaz, Fernando Gago, Diego Maradona, Jorge Burruchaga, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Juan Román Riquelme, Oscar Ruggeri, Gabriel Calderón, Sergio Goycochea, Sergio Romero, Maxi Rodríguez, Luis Islas, Luciano Galletti, Juan Pablo Sorín, Franco Costanzo, Walter Samuel, Javier Saviola, Jorge Borelli, Leonardo Biagini, Diego Simeone, Carlos Tevez, Érik Lamela, Éver Banega and Pablo Piatti, among others.


1979 Youth championship

The team that won its first championship in 1979.

Argentina did not participate of the first youth championship held in Tunisia. The first appearance of a national team in an under-20 competition was two years later at the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship in Tokyo. The team, coached by Menotti with the help of Ernesto Duchini (who had previously chosen the players and working with them),[1] won the tournament showing a fine style of playing consisting in high possession of the ball, short and long passes, dribblings, a solid defense and a powerful offensive line that scored a total of 20 goals along the tournament. Diego Maradona and Ramón Díaz were the team's leaders and most notable players of the squad. The tournament was also the first official championship played by Maradona in a national team. After his frustration of 1978, Maradona made one of his most performances along the tournament, being the playmaker of the team due to his passing moves, dribblings to rivals, his accuracy to shot free kicks and the six goals he scored.

Before every match, Diego played with the ball, putting it on his neck or his shoulders while the Japanese people couldn't stop applauding him. When I would see this, I would say to myself: "Wow, and the show hasn't even started yet".Osvaldo Rinaldi about Maradona [1]

Argentina debuted in Group B thrashing Indonesia 5–0 in the first match, beating Yugoslavia 1–0 in the second and defeating Poland in the third match, 4–1. The youth squad finished first in the group with ten goals scored and only one conceded. En route to the final, Argentina hammered Algeria 5–0, then defeated arch-rival Uruguay 2–0. In the final against the Soviet Union on 7 September, the team won 3–1, becoming the World Youth Champions for the first time. Ramón Díaz won the Golden Shoe as the topscorer, with eight goals, while Maradona was awarded the Golden Ball as best player of the tournament.[2]

Apart from Maradona and Díaz, other notable players of the team were Juan Simón, Hugo Alves, Gabriel Calderón, Juan Barbas and Osvaldo Escudero. That team is still regarded as one of the best Argentine national squads ever.[3]

1981–91: The dark decade

Argentina attended the next tournament, hosted by Australia in 1981. The squad was defeated by the local host (2–1), then achieving a draw with England (1–1) and beating Cameroon 2–1. Argentina did not qualify to the next stage, however, earning only three points after three matches played.

The national team made a much better performance at the 1983 championship hosted by Mexico, reaching the final with Brazil. On the first round, Argentina thrashed China 5–0, then widely defeated Austria (3–0) and beat Czechoslovakia in the last game, 2–0. The team finished first in the group with zero goals conceded. In the quarter-finals, Argentina defeated Netherlands 2–1 (after Marco van Basten had opened the scored for the Oranje) and Poland 1–0 in the semi-finals. On 19 June 1983, Argentina played the final against Brazil, falling 1–0 at the Estadio Azteca.[4] The team was coached by Carlos Pachamé, designated by the Senior team coach, Carlos Bilardo, to work with youth players.

Some of the players of that team were goalkeeper Luis Islas, defenders Fabián Basualdo, Jorge Theiler, Carlos Enrique; midfielders Mario Vanemerak, Oscar Acosta and Roberto Zárate; and forwards Claudio García, Jorge Luis Gabrich and Oscar Dertycia.[5]

Argentina did not qualify to play the 1985 and 1987 championships (played in the Soviet Union and Chile respectively) but the team went to the tournament held in Saudi Arabia as one of the three qualified in the South American championship. Argentina was defeated by Spain in the first match. The team recovered winning the second game to Norway 2–0, but although it lost the last match to Iraq, Argentina qualified for the second round. In the knockout stage, the team was beaten by Brazil by 1–0.

For the 1991 championship held in Portugal, Argentina was coached by Reinaldo Merlo, designated by then-senior coach Alfio Basile as it had been in the precedent era.

Argentina made its worst campaign in Youth tournaments, finishing last in the group with only one point in three matches. The team lost to Korea 1–0 in the debut being then widely defeated by the local team Portugal 3–0, in a match where 3 Argentine players (Claudio París, Mauricio Pellegrino and Juan Esnaider) were sent off by their rough playing, which ended in a great riot on the field between players of both teams. As a result, the International Federation (FIFA) punished the Argentine Association with 2 years of suspension, 1 year for Esnaider and 2 years for Norberto Recassens (one of the representatives of the Argentine Association) who insulted the referees in their dressing room at the end of the match.[6]

Some of the players that took part of that team were goalkeeper Leonardo Díaz, defenders Diego Cocca, Mauricio Pochettino and Pellegrino; midfielders París, Walter Paz Hugo Morales and Christian Bassedas; and forwards Marcelo Delgado and Esnaider.[7]

Pekerman era: the golden years

Argentina did not play the 1993 World Cup of Australia because it was banned. The Football Association had decided to name a new coach who was completely independent from the Senior team coach as had been until then. The chosen one was José Pekerman, who did not have much previous experience but his project convinced the managers to hire him.

The good results were immediate: Argentina won the first World Cup contested with Pekerman as coach, held in 1995 in Qatar. On the first stage, Argentina defeated Netherlands 1-0, then lost to Portugal by the same score and beat Honduras 4-2, finishing second and qualifying for the quarterfinals, were thrashed Cameroon by 4-0. In semifinals Argentina surpassed Spain (3-0) and then beat Brazil 2-0 at the final, taking revenge from the 1983 tournament where the Brazilian had been the winners.

Some of its most notable players were Juan Pablo Sorín, Joaquín Irigoytía, Federico Dominguez, Mariano Juan, Ariel Ibagaza, Leonardo Biagini and Walter Coyette.[8]

Argentina won its third title in the 1997 championship hosted by Malaysia. The team defeated Hungary 3-0 and Canada 2-1 but lost to Australia by 4-3. Argentina passed to the round of 16 where the team defeated England 2-1. In quarter finals Argentina eliminated Brazil after winning 2-0, then beat Republic of Ireland by 1-0 at semifinals. In the final game, played on July 5, 1997, the youth national squad defeated Uruguay 2-1 and therefore won the 3rd. championship for Argentina. The team also received the FIFA fair play award in recognition to the good behaviour showed on the field, leaving behind the violent incident that had taken place in Portugal in 1991.

Argentina showed the talent of notable players such as Leonardo Franco, Fabián Cubero, Leandro Cufré, Walter Samuel, Diego Placente, Esteban Cambiasso, Pablo Aimar, Román Riquelme and Bernardo Romeo, many of them with many games played in Argentine Primera División when the tournament began.[9]

The performance during the 1999 World Championship in Nigeria was not so good. Argentina finished 3rd of 4 in the group, winning over Kazakhstan 1-0 at the debut but with a game lost to Ghana (1-0) and a 0-0 draw with Croatia. On the round of 16, Argentina was largely defeated at the hands Mexico by 4-1 and eliminated from the tournament.

In 2001 Argentina hosted its first Youth Championship. The team won its 4th. title (the 3rd. championship in 7 years). Argentina debuted in the Estadio José Amalfitani (the venue where the team played all its games in Buenos Aires) defeating Finland 1-0. The next game Argentina thrashed Egypt 7-1 (with 3 goals by Javier Saviola), and closed its participation in Group A smashing Jamaica by 5-1. On the knockout round Argentina successively eliminated China (2-1), France (3-1) and Paraguay (5-0), winning the tournament with a convincing 3-0 over Ghana at the final, played on July 8 at Vélez Sársfield.

Argentina won its 4th. youth title unbeaten, scoring 27 goals in 7 matches and receiving only 4. River Plate's forward Javier Saviola was awarded with the Golden Shoe (as the topscorer with 11) and Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. Likewise Argentina was awarded the FIFA Fair Play Awarfor 2nd. consecutive time. Apart from the multi-awarded Saviola, the national squad had a powerful team with most of its players being experienced playing at the domestic first division. Some of the most notable were Nicolas Burdisso, Leonardo Ponzio, Julio Arca, Leandro Romagnoli, Mauro Rosales, Andrés D'Alessandro and Maxi Rodríguez.[10][11]

The 2001 championship was the last title won with Pekerman as coach, closing a brilliant era that brought back the prestige to Argentine football.

The success continues

After the departure of Pekerman, former goalkeeper Hugo Tocalli was designed to replace him. With Tocalli as coach, Argentina made its debut at 2003 championship defeating Spain by 2-1. The team also beat Uzbekistan (by the same score) and Mali (3-1). Argentina finished 1st and unbeaten the first stage. On the round of 16 the national squad beat Egypt 2-1, then defeated United States 2-1 but Argentina lost to Brazil 1-0 at the semifinals. The team was also defeated by Colombia in the 3rd place match so Argentina finished in the 4th position of the general table. Forward Fernando Cavenaghi was the topscorer of the tournament with 4 goals.

In 2004 Pekerman was appointed to coach the Senior team which would play the qualifiers to World Cup.[12] One year later Tocalli left the youth team to join Pekerman's coaching staff at the Senior team, so Francisco Ferraro was designated coach,[13] won its fifth title at the World championship hosted by Netherlands. Argentina lost to United States at the inaugural match, but the team recovered winning the games against Egypt (2-1) and Germany (1-0) qualifying for the next stage. From the round of 16 to the semifinals, Argentina successively eliminated Colombia (2-1), Spain (3-1), and Brazil (2-1) reaching the finals for the 6th. time. On July 2, 2005, Argentina defeated Nigeria by 2-1 and obtained its fifth Youth championship.

Other notable players for Argentina were goalkeeper Oscar Ustari, defenders Ezequiel Garay and Julio Barroso, midfielders Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando Gago and Lucas Biglia; and forwards Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero and Neri Cardozo.

Two years later the national team won its 2nd. consecutive title in the World Cup hosted by Canada. After a 0-0 draw in the debut with Czech Republic, Argentina smashed Panama 6-0 and defeated Korea 1-0 to secure qualification to 2nd. round. On knockout stage, Argentina first eliminated Poland (which defeated 3-1), then faced Mexico (1-0 win) and widely beat Chile 3-0 during the road to the final. On July 22, 2007, Argentina Youth won its 6th. title after defeating Czech Republic 3-1. Sergio Agüero, the topscorer of the championship with 6 goals, was also awarded the Gold Ball as the best player.

Other notable players for the youth national squad were goalkeeper Sergio Romero, midfielders Éver Banega, Maximiliano Moralez and Ángel Di María, and forwards Mauro Zárate and Pablo Piatti.


1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2007
1967, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2015

Competitive record

FIFA World Youth Championship Record

Year Round GP W D* L GS GA
Tunisia 1977 Did not qualify - - - - - -
Japan 1979 Champions 6 6 0 0 20 2
Australia 1981 First round 3 1 1 1 3 3
Mexico 1983 Runners-up 6 5 0 1 13 2
Soviet Union 1985 Did not qualify - - - - - -
Chile 1987 Did not qualify - - - - - -
Saudi Arabia 1989 Quarter-finals 4 1 0 3 3 4
Portugal 1991 First round 3 0 1 2 2 6
Australia 1993 Disqualified - - - - - -
Qatar 1995 Champions 6 5 0 1 12 3
Malaysia 1997 Champions 7 6 0 1 15 7
Nigeria 1999 Second round 4 1 1 2 2 5
Argentina 2001 Champions 7 7 0 0 27 4
United Arab Emirates 2003 Fourth Place 7 5 0 2 12 8
Netherlands 2005 Champions 7 6 0 1 12 5
Canada 2007 Champions 7 6 1 0 16 2
Egypt 2009 Did not qualify - - - - - -
Colombia 2011 Quarter-finals 5 3 2 0 6 1
Turkey 2013 Did not qualify - - - - - -
New Zealand 2015 First Round 3 0 2 1 4 5
South Korea 2017 TBD - - - - - -
Total 14/20 75 52 8 15 147 57

Individual awards

In addition to team victories, Argentine players have won many individual awards at FIFA World Youth Cups.

Year Golden Ball Golden Boot
1979 Diego Maradona Ramón Díaz
2001 Javier Saviola Javier Saviola
2005 Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
2007 Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero

Current squad

The following players were selected to take part in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Head coach: Argentina Humberto Grondona

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Augusto Batalla (1996-04-30)30 April 1996 (aged 19) Argentina River Plate
2 2DF Emanuel Mammana (1996-02-10)10 February 1996 (aged 19) Argentina River Plate
3 2DF Lucas Matías Suárez (1995-03-17)17 March 1995 (aged 20) Argentina Quilmes
4 3MF Nicolás Tripichio (1996-01-05)5 January 1996 (aged 19) Argentina Vélez Sarsfield
5 3MF Adrián Cubas (1996-05-22)22 May 1996 (aged 19) Argentina Boca Juniors
6 2DF Tiago Casasola (1995-08-11)11 August 1995 (aged 19) England Fulham
7 4FW Cristian Espinoza (1995-04-03)3 April 1995 (aged 20) Argentina Huracán
8 3MF Leonardo Rolón (1995-01-19)19 January 1995 (aged 20) Argentina Vélez Sarsfield
9 4FW Giovanni Simeone (1995-07-05)5 July 1995 (aged 19) Argentina River Plate
10 3MF Tomás Martínez (1995-03-07)7 March 1995 (aged 20) Argentina River Plate
11 4FW Ángel Correa (1995-03-09)9 March 1995 (aged 20) Spain Atlético Madrid
12 1GK José Devecchi (1995-09-01)1 September 1995 (aged 19) Argentina San Lorenzo
13 1GK Agustín Rossi (1995-08-21)21 August 1995 (aged 19) Argentina Estudiantes de La Plata
14 4FW Cristian Pavón (1996-01-21)21 January 1996 (aged 19) Argentina Boca Juniors
15 4FW Maximiliano Rolón (1995-01-19)19 January 1995 (aged 20) Spain Barcelona B
16 3MF Daniel Ibáñez (1995-03-29)29 March 1995 (aged 20) Argentina San Lorenzo
17 3MF Alejandro Romero Gamarra (1995-01-11)11 January 1995 (aged 20) Argentina Huracán
18 2DF Leandro Vega (1996-05-27)27 May 1996 (aged 19) Argentina River Plate
19 4FW Emiliano Buendía (1996-12-25)25 December 1996 (aged 18) Spain Getafe CF
20 2DF Facundo Monteseirín (1995-03-12)12 March 1995 (aged 20) Argentina Lanús
21 2DF Rodrigo Moreira (1996-07-15)15 July 1996 (aged 18) Argentina Independiente

Top goalscorers

Rank Player Year(s) U-20 Goals
1 Fernando Cavenaghi 2003 12
2 Javier Saviola 2001 11
2 Lionel Messi 2005 11
4 Luciano Galletti 1999 10
4 Giovanni Simeone 2015 10
6 Ramón Díaz 1979 8
7 Juan Esnaider 1991 7
8 Diego Maradona 1979 6
8 Leonardo Biagini 1995 6
8 Sergio Agüero 2007 6
8 Ángel Correa 2015 6

Former squads

Recent results


See also



External links