FIFA U-20 World Cup brings future football megastars to Wellington

11 February 2015

The draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup took place in Auckland yesterday and the tension was high among host cities as teams were announced.

FIFA U-20 World Cup draw cup

FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 draw card

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The big draw card for Wellington, six-time FIFA U-20 World Cup champions Argentina are also recent winners of the continental title and South American U-20 Championship.

Argentina will be playing four matches here and will be heading to Wellington with Panama, Austria and a third-placed qualifier from Africa, who will be announced in late March after the CAF qualifying tournament.

“Excitement is already building,” says Wellington’s Deputy Mayor Justin Lester, “we’re thrilled to be a part of the action and raring to go.”

New Zealand will play their final pool match against Myanmar in Wellington, which will be pivotal to qualifying for the knock out stages of the tournament.

Hosting some of the world’s future and current football superstars has not been lost on New Zealand’s capital.

“Part of this opportunity is to showcase Wellington to the world,” says Economic Growth and Arts Portfolio Leader, Cr Jo Coughlan. “FIFA U-20 World Cup is a big deal – broadcast to over 100 countries and a global television audience of more than 170 million. All eyes will be on us and we plan to put on a good show.

“With over 800 players, 250 FIFA staff and delegates and more than 100 international media, it’s got to be good for the economy.”

Today, Wellington’s Deputy Mayor will give team delegates a warm welcome while a team of local college footballers form a guard of honour for their arrival in Wellington.

Councillor Lester has been playing football since he was a child and has seen Wellington’s football scene grow markedly over the years. He’s attending all the games and is taking his kids with him.

“Wellington’s football community continues to grow and thrive. Part of the legacy of hosting an event such as FIFA U-20 World Cup means we will see the number of new players leap as a result.”

The FIFA U-20 World Cup will kick off in New Zealand 30 May and goes through until 20 June.