2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup preview Next generation of stars will gather in Egypt later this fall. Last Updated: Friday, September 18, 2009 ﻿ ﻿ Brazil's Giuliano, right, is just one of several young stars to keep an eye on at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt. (Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)Soccer fans will be able to catch a glimpse of the sport's future later this month when 24 of the best youth teams gather in Egypt for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The soccer equivalent of the world junior hockey championship, the U-20 World Cup has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in the history of the sport, including Diego Maradona, Luis Figo and Ronaldinho. The same players who will compete in Africa later this month will be the same ones who will star at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, so the U-20 tournament offers a window into the future. This year's U-20 World Cup features an open field, and with reigning world champion Argentina watching from home (the South American powerhouse failed to qualify), the title is up for grabs. So, what country will come out on top? CBCSports.ca offers a quick breakdown of all the teams and major players to watch. ASIA How they qualified: The United Arab Emirates won the 2008 Asian U-19 Championship, and will be joined in Egypt by finalist Uzbekistan, and semi-finalists Australia and South Korea. Australia: The Socceroos boast three players with senior national team experience in defender Daniel Mullen, midfielder James Holland and forward Mitch Nichols. Australia can also call upon Alex Cisak, a backup goalkeeper with English club Leicester City. South Korea: Egypt marks the 11th time South Korea has participated in the U-20 World Cup, and after bowing out in the first round in five of their last six appearances, the Asian powerhouse will be looking to make amends. United Arab Emirates: The reigning Asian champions will be relying on forward Ahmed Khalil, top scorer and tournament MVP at the 2008 Asian U-19 Championship, to lead the attack and supply them with goals in Egypt. Uzbekistan: Their last appearance came at the 2003 tournament when they lost all three of their first round matches. Midfielder Sherzodbek Karimov will have to be at his best in Egypt if Uzbekistan has any hope of qualifying for the second round. How the tournament works The 17th edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup will be contested in Egypt from Sept. 24 to Oct. 16. The 24-team tournament will be staged in five cities, with the semifinals and final slated to take place in the capital of Cairo. The field of contenders is divided into six round-robin groups. The top two teams in each group, and the four best third-place teams overall, advance to the second round. Group A: Egypt, Italy, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago Group B: Nigeria, Spain, Tahiti, Venezuela Group C: Cameroon, Germany, South Korea, United States Group D: England, Ghana, Uruguay, Uzbekistan Group E: Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Czech Republic Group F: Honduras, Hungary, South Africa, United Arab Emirates After the group stage, the tournament takes on a single-elimination format. AFRICA How they qualified: Ghana won the 2009 African Youth Championship to qualify for Egypt, as did runners-up Cameroon and losing semi-finalists Nigeria and South Africa. As the host team, Egypt received automatic entry into the tournament. Cameroon: The Young Lions make their return to this tournament after a lengthy absence - Cameroon was knocked out by Mali in the second round in the 1999 competition in Nigeria. This time around the Cameroonians will rely heavily on goalkeeper Francois Beyokol and defender Charley Fomen. Ghana: Ransford Osei, currently on loan with Dutch club FC Twente, was named MVP of the 2009 African Youth Championship and finished as the tournament's top scorer with seven goals. Nigeria: The Flying Eagles are a team in transition after Nigerian officials recently appointed former international and Olympic manager Samson Siasia to take over the coaching duties from Ladan Bosso. South Africa: Underestimate the South Africans at your peril. The young Bafana Bafana side raised a lot of eyebrows at the 2009 African Youth Championship when it upset the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, before losing to eventual champions Ghana in the semifinals. Egypt: As host nation, the Egyptians obviously have a big advantage, but aside from relying on the support of local fans, they also have a talented team, led by dangerous striker Mohamed Talaat. EUROPE How they qualified: Germany stamped its passport for Egypt by wining the 2008 UEFA U-19 Championship. Tournament runners-up Italy, Czech Republic and Hungary (semi-finalists), and England and Spain also qualified. Czech Republic: The Czechs did well to reach the final of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, narrowly losing to Argentina. They followed that up with an inspired run at the 2008 UEFA U-19 Championship on home soil, so they'll be one of the dark horse teams to watch in Egypt. England: Coach Brian Eastick's team has to be considered one of the tournament favourites. Chelsea midfielder Michael Woods and Arsenal defender Gavin Hoyte are two of the biggest names on a talent-rich English team. Germany: The European champions enter this tournament brimming with confidence, and why shouldn't they? Disciplined in defence and well-organized midfield, the Germans also look dangerous in attack, with Bayer Leverkusen forward Richard Sukuta-Pasu leadin g the charge. Hungary: Midfielder Vlagyimir Koman has valuable pro experience, having played in Italy's top two divisions the past three years, but that likely won't be enough to propel the Hungarians into the next round. Italy: The Italians have never done well in this tournament - their best showing in four previous appearances were a pair of quarter-final showings - so the Azzurrini have a point to prove in Egypt, on top of wanting to equal the senior team's World Cup victory three years ago in Germany. Spain: FC Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic will miss the tournament because of a thigh injury, but Spain still has plenty of talented players it can call upon, chief among them being Arsenal midfielder Fran Merida.