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Heroes welcome for young Taeguk Warriors

Seoul: AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 winners Korea Republic made a triumphant return home on Tuesday. 

On top of their Continental triumph, the young Taeguk Warriors also confirmed their place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, alongside Saudi Arabia, Australia and hosts Japan.

Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia had bagged their tickets to the Olympics after reaching the final, which the East Asians won 1-0, courtesy of Jeong Tae-wook's extra time header to complete their tournament with a perfect record of six wins.

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Led by head coach Kim Hak-bum, Korea Republic will making their ninth consecutive appearance at the Olympics, a streak that began when the country hosted in 1988.

Kim, 59, was hailed throughout the tournament for his tactical brilliance. He didn't use the same starting lineup in back-to-back matches, constantly juggling his players instead to catch opponents off guard and keep his own players on their toes.

All 21 field players saw action in the tournament, leaving two reserve goalkeepers, Ahn Joon-soo and An Chan-gi, as the only ones not to take the field.

Midfielder Won Du-jae, who started in five straight matches after sitting out the opener, was named the tournament MVP, while goalkeeper Song Bum-keun, the only Korean player to start all six contests, was the the tournament best goalkeeper.

Source:, Korea Football Association

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