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Asia's finest ready for challenge 


Kuala Lumpur: The FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019 kicks off in Brazil on Saturday with Asia represented by Japan, Tajikistan, Australia and Korea Republic.

The four, who qualified based on their finish in the AFC U-16 Championship 2018, will be aiming to emulate Saudi Arabia - the only team from Asia to have won the age-group tournament - and the-AFC.com tracks the challenges ahead.

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Japan

Qualification method: Winners - AFC U-16 Championship 2018
Appearance: 9th
Best finish: Quarter-finals (1993, 2011)

Japan's pedigree is unquestionable and their Group D opponents - United States, Senegal and Netherlands will be wary of the challenge from the East Asians.

It will be Japan's ninth appearance at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and their initial target will be to better their quarter-final finishes of 1993 and 2011.

Fixtures
October 27: vs Netherlands
October 30: vs United States
November 2: vs Senegal


Tajikistan

Qualification method: Runners-up - AFC U-16 Championship 2018
Appearance: 2nd
Best finish: Round of 16 (2007)

 

Tajikistan won many admirers with their runners-up finish in the AFC U-16 Championship 2018 and the Central Asian nation will be aiming for another magical run in Brazil.

It won't be easy, with Argentina, Spain and Cameroon standing in their way in Group E but Tajikistan will still fancy their chances of - at the very least - of advancing to the knockout stage.

Fixtures
October 28: vs Cameroon
October 31: vs Spain
Ovember 3: vs Argentina


Australia

Qualification method: Semi-finalists - AFC U-16 Championship 2018
Appearance: 13th
Best finish: Runners-up (1999)

It will be Australia's 13th appearance at the Finals and their target, for sure, will be to better their runners-up finish of 1995.

It will be a challenge, especially with five-time champions Nigeria among their opponents in Group B, but Australia will believe they can advance to the knockout stage. Hungary and Ecuador complete the group.

Fixtures
October 26: vs Ecuador
October 29: vs Hungary
November 1: vs Nigeria


Korea Republic

Qualification method: Semi-finalists - AFC U-16 Championship 2018
Appearance: 6th
Best finish: Quarter-final (1987, 2009)

Korea Republic will be aiming to, if not better, emulate their FIFA U-20 World Cup counterparts' runners-up finish earlier this year.

A place in the knockout stage looks within reach with Haiti, France and Chile their Group C challengers.

Fixtures
October 27: vs Haiti
October 30: vs France
November 2: vs Chile

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