Which Real Madrid players are playing at the Under-20 World Cup?
FOOTBALL fans can rejoice as the FIFA Under-20 World Cup is back for the first time since 2019.
The event normally takes place every two years but was cancelled in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now 2023 hosts Argentina are ready to welcome the best and brightest football players under the age of 20 to the pitches.
Real Madrid made headlines when Alvaro Rodriguez, pictured in May 2023, was not released by the team for the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World CupMutsu Kawamori/AFLO/Alamy Live News
Which Real Madrid players are playing in the Under-20 World Cup?
FIFA published final lists of all teams on May 12, 2023, with only one Real Madrid player making the squad lists.
Real Juvenil’s Alejandro Martin Sapeg will play for the Dominican Republic team, the country’s Cuban head coach Walter Benitez prior to the official announcement.
The team is in Group D at the U20 World Cup along with Italy, Brazil, and Nigeria.
They kick off their campaign on Sunday, May 21, 2023, against Nigeria, before tackling Brazil on Wednesday, May 24, and Italy on Saturday, May 27.
Madrid-owned striker Sapeg, born on February 16, 2006, has been on loan to Spanish team Rayo Ciudad Alcobendas U19 since January 2023.
While Sapeg is the only Real Madrid-owned player heading to Argentina for the Under-20 World Cup, one of his teammates was in demand for the tournament.
Real made headlines in early 2023 when it was confirmed that they would not release striker Alvaro Rodriguez to play with Uruguay at the event.
Marcelo Garcia, head of Uruguay‘s national youth team programme, told Uruguayan radio station Sport 890 at the time: “We received notification from Real Madrid that they will not be able to loan the player on the dates that were requested.
“There is not much that we can do and now we have to focus and look forward.”
Garcia added: “We understand Alvaro is also important for Real Madrid. For us he is a fundamental player considering what he showed at the South American tournament.
“Unfortunately, Uruguay coach Marcelo Broli will not be able to count on Alvaro.”
When is the Under-20 World Cup?
The start date for the Under-20 World Cup is Saturday, May 20 and the tournament in scheduled to conclude on Sunday, June 11, 2023.
Group stage matches are scheduled to kick off at 7pm or 10pm UK time.
The start times for the knockout rounds will alternate between 6.30pm and 10pm.
La Plata, Mendoza, San Juan and Santiago del Estero are the four different cities in Argentina which will host the games.
Hosts Argentina open the tournament against Uzbekistan.
England feature for the first time on Monday, May 22, against Tunisia.
What are the key dates?
Group stages – Saturday, May 17 – Sunday, May 28
Round of 16 – Tuesday, May 30 – Thursday, June 1
Quarter-final – Saturday, June 3 – Sunday, June 4
Semi-final – Thursday, June 8
3rd place play-off – Sunday, June 11
Final – Sunday, June 11