U-20 Football World Cup in Argentina: what you need to know

The competition starts Saturday and the games will be played in 4 stadiums across the country

Fresh from its victory in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last December, Argentina will now host the FIFA U-20 World Cup, for players under the age of 20. There’s a packed fixtures list of matches across the country – but how do you go about seeing a game? Here’s what you need to know.

The tournament kicks off tomorrow at 3 p.m. with two matches, Guatemala vs New Zealand, in the Mother of Cities (Madre de Ciudades) Stadium in Santiago del Estero province, and the United States vs Ecuador, in the Bicentennial Stadium, in San Juan province. The first day will continue with an opening ceremony in Santiago del Estero and two more games, Argentina vs Uzbekistan and Fiji vs Slovakia, the latter in San Juan. 

The games will be played in four stadiums across Argentina: the aforementioned, plus the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, in La Plata, and the Malvinas Argentinas Stadium, in Mendoza. No matches will be played in Buenos Aires City. 

The group phase lasts until May 28. After that, comes the Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the final, which will be played on June 11 in the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. Tickets for this match, as well as Argentina’s opening game in Santiago, are already sold out, but there are still seats available for other games. 

How do I get tickets?

Tickets are sold through the digital platform Deportick, the same one the Argentine Football Association (AFA) has used for the games of the Men’s national team. First you have to create an account and fill out some information before picking the games and the number of tickets (the system allows up to eight per buyer). 

Tickets for the first round and the Round of 16 cost between AR$3,000 and AR$4,000. Quarter and semi-finals games will cost between AR$4,000 and AR$6,000. Tickets for the final, which are already sold out, cost between AR$6,000 and 8,000. Once the tickets are purchased, the buyer receives a QR code that will be required to enter the stadium.

Where are the matches being played?

Argentina will play two first round matches in the Mother of Cities Stadium in Santiago del Estero, a venue that opened in 2018 and recently hosted the Men’s National Team match against Panama to celebrate the triumph in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It owes its name to the fact that Santiago is the oldest province of Argentina. 

The stadium has a seating capacity of over 30,000, and will host 10 U-20 World Cup games. Among its facilities, it also has a restaurant, a museum, and a parking lot.  

The Bicentennial Stadium in San Juan opened in 2011. Located in Pocito Department, it has a seating capacity of just over 25,000. Argentina will play one of its three first round games here, one of the 10 matches the stadium will host. In 2011, it served as a venue for the Copa America, and has also hosted rugby union games. 

Bicentennial Stadium, San Juan. Credit: Government of San Juan province
Bicentennial Stadium, San Juan. Credit: Government of San Juan province

The Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in La Plata is the largest of all the U-20 World Cup venues. It has a seating capacity of 53,000, and will host 18 matches, including the final. It opened in 2003 as a multipurpose stadium, and has hosted numerous musical and sporting events, from U2 concerts to football and rugby union matches. Originally named One-of-a-kind Stadium (Estadio Único, in Spanish), in 2020 it changed its name following Maradona’s death. 

The final venue is the Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza. It has a seating capacity of 42,000, and will host 14 games. It opened for the 1978 Football World Cup, which was played in Argentina, and it currently hosts some of the games of Godoy Cruz, a football team from Mendoza that plays in Argentina’s top division. 

Malvinas Argentinas Stadium, in Mendoza. Télam
Malvinas Argentinas Stadium, in Mendoza. Télam

 Where can I watch the matches?

All games played between May 20 and June 11 will be broadcast live on three television networks: TV Pública, DSports and TyCSports. The matches will also be available through the streaming platform of TyCsports, as well as some channels on cable operators, like Flow or Telecentro Play, but these require a subscription. 

In La Plata, tomorrow there will be an event called Fan Fest at Plaza Moreno, located on the corner of 13 and 54, in front of the Cathedral. In the square and the streets surrounding it there will be food trucks serving typical meals from the countries playing in the tournament. There will also be artistic makeup stands, DJ’s, dance groups and football tennis courts. At 3 p.m. the match between Israel and Colombia will be shown on a large screen in the square. 

If you’re in Buenos Aires City and are interested in a public outing to see a game, there’s no shortage of sports bars where you’ll feel right at home. One popular location is Locos x el fútbol (Crazy for football)l, a football themed bar located on the corner of Av. Gral. Las Heras and Uriburu in Recoleta that has numerous large screens throughout the venue, including two facing the street, so anybody can see the game. 

Other good options are Sullivan’s, an Irish sports pub located on JL Borges 1702, in Palermo, and La Puerta Roja (The Red Door), on Chacabuco 733, in San Telmo. Both are popular destinations for watching local and international football games, as well as games from Argentina’s national teams.  


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