Thailand 2020: Draw produces exciting groups
Bangkok: Uzbekistan will open their defence of the AFC U23 Championship title in Group C following the Thailand 2020 Finals draw in Bangkok on Thursday.
The fourth edition of the Championship will be played across three cities - Bangkok, Buriram and Songkhla - with the tournament kicking off on January 8, and the final to be played on January 26.
Besides Continental glory, 15 of the 16 teams will also be competing for places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the top three sides will join hosts Japan as Asia's representatives next July.
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Joining Uzbekistan, who defeated Vietnam 2-1 in the 2018 final, in Group C were Korea Republic, China PR and Islamic Republic of Iran.
It promises to be an exciting group as all three of Uzbekistan's challengers will be aiming to win the title for the first time.
Hosts Thailand were drawn in Group A and they will have 2013 champions Iraq, Australia and debutants Bahrain to contend with.
Qatar, third in 2018, 2016 champions Japan, Saudi Arabia - runners-up in 2013, and Syria are in an exciting looking Group B.
Vietnam, runners-up in 2018, have DPR Korea, Jordan - third in 2013 - and United Arab Emirates for company in Group D.
Should Japan make the last four stage, the other three semi-finalists will be assured of their places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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