Recently, it was known through an official FIFA statement that the countries of Costa Rica and Panamá will host the “Women’s U20 (players under 20 years of age) Soccer World Cup Championship” that will be played in August 2020.
Although the exact dates of each match have not been published yet, FIFA inspectors were satisfied with the conditions of the National Stadiums Ricardo Saprissa and Fello Meza. It is worth mentioning that this is the first time that this modality will be implemented so that 2 countries are simultaneous venues of this tournament.
Colin Smith, director of competitions and events at FIFA, thanked the 2 Central American countries for their commitment to women’s football and wished for a fantastic competition. Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado said that this World Cup should reflect the peace values that characterize Costa Rica: “Panama and Costa Rica are brother countries and in this sports party we will strengthen and deepen our relationships. We will join as a region”, he stated.
Promoting the popularity of women’s football
Sarai Bareman, FIFA women’s soccer director commented: “After the FIFA Women’s World Cup held this year in France, which was a great success, it is important to take advantage of this momentum to continue progressing at all levels. The U20 World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama next year is, for us, an ideal occasion to continue promoting the popularity of this sport”. The FIFA statement says: “The 16 participating teams will be divided into 4 groups of 4, and the first 2 of each group will enter the quarterfinals”.
Amelia Valverde, national coach of Costa Rica said: “It can be expressed with great emotion what we feel, closing with this news the year is a wonderful blessing and fills us with great enthusiasm and now to plan as it should be and with a lot of order. We must seize this opportunity for the country that will be growing in many areas. We closed with enthusiasm a great year in women’s soccer”.
Costa Rica with organizational experience
It is important to note that this contest will be the second World Cup organized by Costa Rica, after the women’s under 17 held in 2014. This tournament was approved with high marks in logistics, quality of the playing fields and attendance of stadium fans.
Rodolfo Villalobos, president of the Costa Rican Football Federation (Fedefut) said “This is an extraordinary opportunity to organize a great world cup and correct previous mishaps. The goal is to have an orderly and transparent world cup. I assume that responsibility for Costa Rica to continue to raise the issue of organizing world championships”.
For his part, the Costa Rican Minister of Sports, Hernán Solano Venegas said: “Costa Rica is prepared to meet the requirements of FIFA from a coordinated, teamwork, which we will carry out as a country from the Executive Branch jointly with the private sector, the Legislative Assembly and the leadership of national football”.
One of the measures to be taken by the host countries is the collaboration and assurance of protection of human rights for members of the highest world football body; guarantee in the facilitation of visas and permits for the entry and exit of people involved in the competition, work permits for FIFA members and application of all labor rights for workers involved in the World Cup.
Likewise, the guarantee in the performance of necessary security operations before, during and after matches; use of flags and interpretation of the hymns without any discrimination; exemptions, protection of intellectual property rights and FIFA marks and a solid structure and high technology in telecommunications.
Shirley Cruz, a Costa Rican star player, commented that “the organization of this event demonstrates the growth of women’s soccer, now we have to enjoy this sports celebration, which we hope will mark the beginning of a new era”.
U20 Champion countries in recent years
In the 2018 edition, in France, the representation of Japan became the 4th champion in the history of this category, defeating Spain in the grand final 3 goals to 1. After 9 U20 Women’s Soccer World Cup tournaments, the United States -with 3 crowns- heads the medal table (2002, 2008, 2012), escorted by Germany (2004, 2010), and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (2006, 2016) with 2 trophies each, while Japan adds the gold in the last appointment.
Finally, Costa Rican football fans are looking forward to this tournament that will undoubtedly mark the sport’s history of the country.