Five Things to Know About Venezuela U-20 MNT


Following its 6-0 win over New Zealand in the Round of 16, the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team will face Venezuela in the Quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The two teams will meet in Jeonju, Korea Republic on June 4 at 2 a.m. ET and the match will be available live on FS2, FOX Sports GO and Telemundo En Vivo.

Here are five things you should know about La Vinotinto Sub-20s:

How They Got Here

After winning Group B with a perfect nine points, defeating Germany (2-0), Vanuatu (7-0) and Mexico (1-0), Venezuela reached the quarterfinals with a 1-0 win against Japan in the Round of 16 on a 108th minute goal from Yangel Herrera. Through its four games in the tournament, Venezuela has scored 11 goals and has yet to concede a single strike.

Sergio Córdova paces La Vinotinto with four goals, while seven other players have scored one apiece.

Unchartered Territory

Venezuela is making its second all-time appearance at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and this is the first time the country has advanced to the Quarterfinals. Prior to this year, their only previous tournament appearance came in 2009 in Egypt, where they were eliminated by the United Arab Emirates in the Round of 16.

This year’s Quarterfinal appearance is the best performance by any men’s national team from Venezuela in a FIFA tournament; the Venezuela senior men’s national team has never qualified for the World Cup and the country has never advanced beyond the group stage at the U-17 FIFA World Cup.

New York State of Mind

Herrera, the hero of Venezuela’s Round of 16 win over Japan, currently plays professionally in Major League Soccer with New York City FC. After making 32 appearances for Atlético Venezuela in 2016, Herrera signed for Manchester City in January of this year. Herrera was then loaned to New York City FC for the 2017 season, where he has made five appearances, including two starts. Herrera scored his first M.L.S. goal on April 29 in a 3-2 win over Columbus Crew SC.

The 19-year-old midfielder, who was in Venezuela’s squad for last summer’s Copa America Centenario, has made two appearances for his country’s senior national team.

An Unusual Record

Wuilker Farinez, Venezuela’s starting goalkeeper in all four matches of the tournament, has scored more goals at the U-20 World Cup than he has conceded. In 390 minutes of action in the competition thus far Farinez and his defense have yet to concede a goal, but he has scored once, converting a 56th minute penalty in a 7-0 win over Vanuatu.

Standing just 5-foot-9, Farinez has been the first-choice goalkeeper for his club side, Caracas FC, since 2015, breaking the club record with a 689 minute shutout streak that year. Farinez was the youngest player at the 2015 Copa America and has earned four caps for the senior national team.

The Manager

Rafael Dudamel currently serves as the manager for both the Venezuela U-20 National Team and the Senior Men’s National Team, a role he took over on April 1, 2016. As a player, Dudamel earned 54 caps playing in goal for his native Venezuela, making him the second-most capped goalkeeper in the nation’s history. As a coach, Dudamel guided the Venezuela U-17 team to its first World Cup appearance in 2013. He has also been in charge of a pair of club sides in Venezuela, Estudiantes de Mérida and ACD Lara, before beginning his role with the Venezuela U-20 team in 2015.