The Canadian U20 team, currently coached by Nick Dasovic, is down in Florida training to get ready for their next World Cup cycle. While they are down there they found out who they would be playing come February when they head to Puebla, Mexico for the CONCACAF Championships.
Canada were automatic qualifiers for the event that will run from February 18th until March 3rd along with Mexico and the United States. Those three were placed in Pot One for the draw along with Jamaica, pot two consisted of Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, while Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Curacao made up the third and final pot.
The format for the tournament is a fairly simple one consisting of four group of three teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout rounds and then the four semi-finalists will all earn berths in the upcoming U20 World Cup in Turkey.
Things turned out pretty sweetly for the Canadians, as they missed out on the bigger Concacaf names and instead landed Nicaragua out of that second, Central American pot, with Cuba added from the 3rd pot for the Caribean sides You'd think even Canada could finish in the top two of that group, though be wary as Nicaragua qualified by upsetting Honduras.
Getting to the quarter finals was surely looked at as a given even before the draw, but this does give a great chance of securing first place which would presumably lead to an easier quarter final, and avoiding the real big boys until the semi final stage and from there, as we saw at last years under 23 Olympic qualifier, anything can happen.
The full draw is as follows
Group A: USA, Costa Rica, Haiti
Group B: Canada, Nicaragua, Cuba
Group C: Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico
Group D: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao.
Quarter finals see group B winners go against group A runners up, and vice versa. So if Canada tops their group they'll more than likely be playing Costa Rica with a World Cup place on the line, finish 2nd and they'll more than likely be playing the US.