|Estatio Puebla, Mexico 49,000|
Defending champion Mexico will host the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship finals in Puebla, Mexico. Four teams each will qualify for the U-20 World Cup 2013 Turkey.The February 18-March 2 U-20 championship will mark the fourth time Mexico has hosted all or part of the tournament finals. Mexico has won the U-20 11 out of the 18 times it was held. Honduras (1982, 1994), Canada (1986, 1096), Costa Rica (1988, 2009) each have won twice. El Salvador also has a Championship way back in 1964. Surprisingly the USA has never won this event. Mexico will again be favorite playing on home soil in Puebla. Canada, USA and the host will get an automatic bye into the final 12.
Estadio Cuauhtemoc, home of Mexican first-division club Puebla and a venue for the 1970 and 1986 World Cups as well as the 2008 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship, will be one of two venues used for the U-20 championship. The other will be Estadio Universitario Lobos BUAP, which is home to the second-division club which shares its name. North America (3) The USA, Mexico and Canada automatically qualify for the final 12 team tournament. 4 Central American countries will qualify and 5 Caribbean nations will complete the field.
Central America (4)
This tournament was held this summer in July. There were 2 groups of 3 nations. Group A had Honduras hosted Costa Rica and Nicaragua, while Group B Guatemala hosted El Salvador and Panama. There was a big surprise as always in the competitive Central American region. Both hosts were knocked out. Group A was the big surprise with Nicaragua showing the region that their youth teams are as competitive as the others now. The lost 3-2 to regional power Costa Rica but then won against Honduras on Honduras home soil. This is the first time a Nicaragua youth team will participate in a regional tournament. The senior side made history playing in the first ever Gold Cup in 2009.
Group B teams all has identical records with a win and a loss. The goal differential was also the same. The third tie breaker was total goals and this is where Guatemala was edged out. The mini tournament was also marred by a brawl between Panama and Guatemala. Panama was winning 1-0 and Guatemala knew they would be knocked out. UNCAF issued 18 different players a total of 94 game suspensions after the melee.
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and El Salvador will be the UNCAF representatives.
The 2013 U-20 Championship will take place in November 3rd – 11th 2012 in Jamaica. Group A will have T&T, Haiti, newcomer Puerto Rico and Curacao. Haiti and T&T will be the favorites in this group. Puerto Rico is the nations that could challenge them. Puerto Rico beat Barbados 2-0 and Bermuda 2-0 in the first round. Puerto Rico also had a good game against the host t Haiti 0-0. This tournament will be played on a neutral site, Jamaica.
Group B will also feature a new nation in Suriname, host Jamaica, giants Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda. Jamaica and Cuba will again be favorites. The top 2 from each group will advance while the 3rd place finishers will have a one game death match.