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Defending champs Uruguay open 2019 SouthAm U-20 against Peru

Rodrigo Amaral (R) of Uruguay vies for the ball with Leonardo Sernicola (L) of Italy during the third-place match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between the Italy and Uruguay in Suwon World Cup Stadium, South Korea, 11 June 2017. (Mundial de Fútbol, Corea del Sur, Italia) EFE-EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

Rodrigo Amaral (R) of Uruguay vies for the ball with Leonardo Sernicola (L) of Italy during the third-place match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between the Italy and Uruguay in Suwon World Cup Stadium, South Korea, 11 June 2017. (Mundial de Fútbol, Corea del Sur, Italia) EFE-EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

EFE

Uruguay, the reigning South American U-20 soccer champions, will begin their defense of the title with a match against Peru in the central Chilean city of Talca.

Coach Fabian Coito, who guided the squad to victory two years ago in Ecuador, said that winning the 2019 U-20 is important in itself and because victory in Chile would automatically qualify Uruguay for the Pan-American Games and the U-20 World Cup in Poland.

“The championship is on the line as well as qualifying for the Pan-American Games and the World Cup,” he said Thursday.

But the coach and Uruguay’s soccer federation know that the task won’t be easy, especially in their debut Friday against Peru.

“We have good expectations with the dream of going to the World Cup in Poland,” Peruvian coach Daniel Ahmed said, adding that he has prepared his players to compete against anyone.

The match between Uruguay and Peru will be the highlight of Group B’s first match-day. The other contest pits Ecuador against Paraguay.

The fifth team in Group B, Argentina, will not be in action.

The top four sides in the South America U-20 will automatically qualify for the World Cup, while the top three will secure berths for the Pan-American Games in Lima.


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