January 17 – Hosts Thailand and defending champions Uzbekistan are among the teams that progressed to the last eight of the AFC U-23 Championship. Japan, Qatar and Iran were eliminated in the first round.
The hosts qualified in second spot behind Australia in Group A and will face Saudi Arabia in the quarter-finals. The Olyroos, group winners, take on Syria in the last eight. The Saudis dominated group B with two wins and a draw. They were held to a goalless draw by rivals Qatar, who disappointed, finishing in third on three points after three successive draws. It was still better than the Japanese, who held Qatar, but failed in their other matches and exited the tournament bottom of the group. Later this year, the Japanese U-23 team will be the hosts of the Olympic football tournament.
The top three teams of these finals will play alongside Japan at the event. South Korea will encounter Jordan in the last eight and reigning champions Uzbekistan take on the United Arab Emirates. In Group C, Iran and China were sent home. The Chinese failed to register a single point.
In Group D, Vietnam, the runners-up in the 2017 finals disappointed and finished the tournament with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of North Korea. “I am so sorry,” said Park Hang-seo. “Two years ago, we were the runners-up. This year, we played three matches in the group stage, drew two of them and lost once. Obviously it was a bad result and the fans are disappointed. The players have tried their best but the reality is that they still need to improve a lot.”
QF 1 – January 18, 2020 – Australia vs Syria
QF 2 – January 18, 2020 – Saudi Arabia vs Thailand
QF 3 – January 19, 2020 – Korea Republic vs Jordan
QF 4 – January 19, 2020 – UAE vs Uzbekistan
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1582399635labto1582399635ofdlr1582399635owedi1582399635sni@o1582399635fni1582399635