AFC U23 meet unfolds January 12


The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-23 championship is set to kick off on January 12 in Qatar featuring the top 16 U-23 squads from the Asian region.

The tournament, which will run until January 30, will also serve as the Asian qualifying leg for the football tournament of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Out of the 43 participating national teams in the preliminary rounds, a total of 16 made it into the final round of the tournament. They were divided into four groups.

The games will be played in four different venues— the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium, the Grand Hamad Stadium, Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium and the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium—all situated in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Host Qatar is clustered with Syria, Iran and China in Group A while Saudi Arabia, Japan, North Korea and Thailand are all housed in Group B.

Defending champion Iraq was drawn in Group C together with South Korea, Uzbekistan and Yemen while Group D includes Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Australia.

The top two squads from each group will move on to the knockout phase in the cross- over quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, teams from Group A are slated to start the hostilities of the U23 level continental football tilt with Syria and Iraq facing off in the first game followed by the match between Qatar and China.


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