FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2013: The group of death kicks off the competition

LA Galaxy forward Jose Villarreal will be a key player for the United States - USA TODAY Sports

The United States and Spain face off on Friday as the Under-20 World Cup gets underway with the group of death on its first day.

The 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup kicks off on Friday with a slate of four games, including two from the competition's toughest group, Group A. Perennial powerhouses France and Spain have been placed in a group with a United States team that features multiple established senior professionals and Ghana, who won this competition back in 2009. The U.S. will be heavy underdogs against Spain in their opening game, while France and Ghana might feel like their game is an early knockout stage decider.

Cuba was a surprise qualifier for the tournament and will likely struggle with South Korea, though it's nearly impossible to know exactly how good or bad Cuba are. Nigeria and Portugal have historically strong youth setups, and if there's a winner in their game on Friday, that team will become the favorite to take Group B.

All Under-20 World Cup games are on ESPN3 in the United States and Eurosport in the United Kingdom. The United States-Spain game will also be shown on TV in America, on ESPN2.

Schedule (all times ET)

Group A

France vs. Ghana - 11 a.m.
United States vs. Spain - 2 p.m.

Group B

Cuba vs. South Korea - 11 a.m.
Nigeria vs. Portugal - 2 p.m.

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