Tuesday 09 August 2022, 09:00

FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Technical Study Group Preview

The 10th edition of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup™ will kick off in Costa Rica on 10 August 2022. The biennial competition returns for the first time since France 2018 due to the global pandemic.

Last time out Japan were crowned champions, becoming only the fourth nation to win the tournament after USA, Germany and Korea DPR.

Beaten finalists Spain produced their best ever performance at a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, with Patricia Guijarro collecting both the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards for her outstanding contributions to her team's run to the final.

Japan celebrate winning the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup France 2018

The importance of the U-20 Women's World Cup in developing young talent is clear to see. Despite not qualifying for the 2022 edition, five of the English Women's EURO-winning team featured in the previous U-20 Women's World Cup in 2018.

The experience of playing in a major tournament, against teams with different styles of play and against the best U-20 players across the world, is something that stands firmly in the technical, tactical, physical and mental development of young players.

Introducing our Technical Study Group Our FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) will travel to Costa Rica where they will observe every game in the competition.

Our team includes Monica Vergara, Anja Mittag and Pascal Zuberbuhler.

Monica Vergara

MONICA VERGARA Football has been a huge part of Monica's life, leading her to represent her country at every level, both as a player and now as a coach. Making her debut at age 13, she went on to play for Mexico for 14 years from 1997-2011, before transitioning to coaching where she has worked with Mexico's U-15, U-17 and U-20 women's national teams and now currently holds the position as head coach for the senior national team.

The development of the women's game from a technical, tactical, physical and mental perspective has been hugely evident in the recent senior tournaments across the confederations; Vergara is looking forward to seeing how that development is transferring to the U-20 level.

"Women's football is definitely progressing as the federations offer greater support and with the creation of professional leagues. Clubs are now looking to detect player potential at an earlier age, and this causes the players to have an integral development that includes and improves their physical, technical, tactical and mental abilities.

"That's why I hope to see more complete and competitive matches in each phase of the game and with a better tactical understanding from the players, to carry out their game plans," said Vergara.

Defending champions Japan are a team that Vergara is interested to see. They have developed an intricate passing style which led them to U-20 victory in 2018. It is a similar style to Spain. The offensive transition trends, which are often utilised by teams such as Germany and France, will also be highly anticipated in this tournament.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the different styles of play and the tactical maturity of the teams. How do they use tactics to be better and get the better of their opponent? It will be a fascinating tournament," she concluded.

Anja Mittag

ANJA MITTAG A former senior (2007) and U-20 (2004) FIFA Women's World Cup™ winner with Germany, Anja Mittag has huge experience both as a player and as a coach. Mittag scored 50 international goals in 158 appearances for her country and has won countless trophies. In addition to her World Cup winners' medals, she also won three UEFA European Championships (2005, 2009, 2013), a UEFA U-19 Championship (2002), an Olympic gold medal in 2016 and was the all-time top goalscorer in the UEFA Women's Champions League until 2019.

She retired from playing in 2020 and is now the assistant coach with RB Leipzig's senior women's team, which play in the Frauen Bundesliga.

Mittag also cites the development of players from an athletic and tactical point of view, and she is particularly interested in how teams develop their attacking play in this tournament. "I want to see how teams create their goal-scoring chances and what is the movement of the forward players," said Mittag. "How do they behave and what solutions do they find in situations when they are under pressure?"

As a player who played in and won major youth tournaments, Mittag fully appreciates how important these competitions are for player development.

"For me it was the best experience and taught me how to play against different styles and players from different parts of the world. I learned so much. It challenged me to become a better player," she added.

"When you look at the recent 2022 UEFA Women's European Championship final, so many players in the England and Germany teams played in the last FIFA U-20 World Cup. Both teams had five players each in their squads that played in France 2018. Alessia Russo, Lauren Hemp, Georgia Stanway, Chloe Kelly and Ellie Roebuck from England and Lena Oberdorf, Klara Buhl, Sophie Kleinherne, Guilia Gwinn and Laura Freigang for Germany. This is why it is so important. Playing in these tournaments is invaluable for player development," explained Mittag.

Pascal Zuberbühler

PASCAL ZUBERBUHLER Senior Football and Goalkeeping Expert Pascal Zuberbuhler will be casting the spotlight on the goalkeepers in the tournament. The former Switzerland international attended and observed the most recent FIFA Women's U-17 and U-20 World Cups, in addition to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Zuberbuhler will focus on the individual performances of the goalkeepers but also on the crucially important connection they have with their team, especially their last defensive line. "I'm looking forward to seeing how connected the goalkeepers are with their teams when they are building play from the back. Can they play with both feet and how is their distribution when under pressure? Goalkeepers at senior level are very fit, physical and athletic now and we expect to see this also at U-20 level," explained Zuberbuhler.

"Out of possession, will the goalkeepers dominate their areas? Are they confident in dealing with crosses? How do they use their physicality, footwork and timing to dominate crowded penalty areas? How are they landing to ensure they can be explosive and powerful for second phases of attacks?" he added.

Zuberbuhler also noted how the teams that progressed to the latter stages of the last U-17 and U-20 World Cups had goalkeepers that were well connected to their team-mates, both in and out of possession. For him it is no coincidence that this is always evident in the best sides.

"If the goalkeeper is only there to save the shots, then they are not involved enough with the team. It is so important to have good distances from the last line of defence and midfield to ensure the team is connected defensively. More is needed from goalkeepers in the modern game, so we are looking to analyse this also," concluded Zuberbuhler.


Football Analysis Team Our football experts will be supported by members of our Football Performance Analysis & Insights team bringing video and football data insights from every game using our new Enhanced Football Intelligence (EFI) metrics. In addition, FIFA's Football Data Collection team, based in the United Kingdom, will produce comprehensive datasets from every match and these will be available to all participating teams.

The new data and insights produced will support the observations of our TSG and will give a greater insight into U-20 women's football than ever before. This detailed coverage will be available as part of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Costa Rica 2022 technical analysis, which can be found on the FIFA Training Centre.

VAR will also be used at this tournament for the first time.

Costa Rica The tournament kicks-off on Wednesday 10 August 2022. It takes place during Costa Rica's rainy season, when temperatures generally range from 24 to 29°C. The 16-team competition will be played at two venues in the host country's capital, San Jose; these are the San Jose Estadio Nacional and the Alajuela Morera Soto, with the final taking place on Sunday 29 August.

FIFA TECHNICAL TEAM FOR U-20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP Technical Experts Anja Mittag – Technical Expert Monica Vergara – Technical Expert Pascal Zuberbuhler – Technical Expert (GK) Performance Analysts / Data Science Harry Lowe – Football Performance Analysis Lead Elliott Stonell – Football Performance Analyst Juan Pablo Busso – Football Data Science Lead Football Content Lisa Fallon – Football Content Tournament Lead Project Leads Ulf Schott – Head of High Performance Chris Loxston – Group Leader Football Performance Analysis & Insights

FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2022 Draw