Yesterday the call ups for the U-22 AFC Championships were announced. Head coach Lee Gwang-Jong has called up 23 players for the tournament. This is the inaugural year for the U-22 tournament, and it will be held next month (Jan. 2014) in Oman. The event will hold more significance in years to come, notably the next time it rolls around (2015) as it will serve as Asian qualification for the 2016 summer Olympics. The tournament is scheduled to be held every two years.
History – Qualification
Korea eased to a spot in the tournament. Topping their group with 13 points. Group host Myanmar also finished with 13 points, but Korea superior goal difference (+20 vs +11) assured them top spot. Korea’s group contained the aforementioned Myanmar, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The top two teams from each group made it to the finals along with the top two of the third place teams.
The following teams qualified for the finals:
Group A – Iraq, UAE, Oman
Group B – Saudi Arabia, Syria
Group C – Iran, Kuwait
Group D – Jordan, Uzbekistan, Yemen
Group E – Japan, Australia
Group F – North Korea, China
Group G – South Korea, Myanmar
Like most major tournaments, the U-22 AFC Championship is split into a group stage and knockout stage. The groups are thus:
Group A – Oman, Jordan, South Korea, Myanmar
Group B – North Korea, UAE, Syria, Yemen
Group C – Iran, Japan, Australia, Kuwait
Group D – Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, China
South Korea’s Group Schedule
Match 1 – South Korea vs Jordan, January 11 (SBS ESPN)
Match 2 – Myanmar vs South Korea, January 13 (MBC Sports)
Match 3 – Oman vs South Korea, January 15 (KBS2)
Should Korea advance from the group stage, a potential Korean derby with North Korea is possible in the quarterfinals or semifinals. And a possible Korea-Japan match in the finals, as they will be kept apart until then.[table “” not found /]
For senior team watchers, two players, Yoon Il-Rok and Jang Hyun-Soo, have made senior team bows before.