With just hours to go before the start of the South American U-20 Women's Championship, the ten teams are ready to face the first tournament of the Conmebol calendar
The U-20 women's teams of Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are already in Ecuadorian territory to face the continental meeting that will begin on Saturday January 13 and will end on the 31st of the same month, which will be celebrated in the cities of Ambato, Ibarra and Riobamba. The competition will reward the two finalists (champion and runner-up) with a place at the 2018 U-20 Women's World Cup in France to be held in August.
The Championship consists of two groups, A and B, whose teams were selected in a draw held in Quito in December last year. Group A is made up of the teams of: Ecuador (host), Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru; and Group B by: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The top two teams in each group will advance to a final four-team play-off, all against each other, and the two leading teams will be the ones who get the ticket to the World Cup in France.
What history has said
Seven South American U-20 Women's Championships have been held since 2004, plus this year's edition. Brazil's national team is the eternal queen of the tournament, having won every edition. The 2015 edition had Venezuela as runner-up, Colombia in third place, and Argentina in fourth position.
At first glance, the two strongest teams are Brazil and Venezuela. The midfielder Victoria Albuquerque, number 10, and forward Geyse, from Madrid Club de Fútbol Femenino, are Brazil's standard bearers to continue the winning path of the 'Verde-Amarela' in the tournament. On behalf of Venezuela, the talent will rest on striker Deyna Castellanos, one of the best players in the U-20 world and the best U-17 player of last year. Castellanos led 'La Vinotinto' to first place at the 2016 South American U-17 Championship, with 12 goals in seven games, and fourth place at the 2016 U-17 World Cup, with five goals scored in six games. "We have trained as hard as we could and that is acknowledged and applauded. We have done the height training process in the best way", said the Venezuelan forward. "The main idea of the whole group is to qualify for France and, of course, the goal is to be champions."
Meanwhile, the teams of Colombia and Argentina, who also have good teams on the paper, prefer to have a lower profile, and look at the tournament as a tough and demanding preparation that will train players to feed the senior teams, which is the goal of these youth categories. "These processes, the youths, are not only for months, but for years because the categories are being renewed, and they are the future of the senior team (...) after four or five years many of these girls can become part of the national team", said Caros Borello, manager of the Argentina national team.
Latin American Post | Juan Felipe Guerrero
Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda