ACL has prepared me for Thailand 2020, says Korea Republic's Dae-won
Daegu: Korea Republic U-23 star Kim Dae-won excelled in 2019's AFC Champions League with club Daegu FC. And the exciting forward, with a knack for spectacular goals, believes his inaugural Continental club competition appearance has set him up nicely for next week's AFC U23 Championship.
Despite having already begun his professional career as a 19-year-old in 2016, last year's campaign proved to be a banner year for Kim who shot to prominence on the Continental club stage as part of an exciting Daegu FC side who made headlines in their AFC Champions League debut.
Kuala Lumpur: The young White Wolf, a solid pair of hands, and two players with European experience looking to finally fulfill their potential, are the ones to keep an eye on in Group C of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
Songkhla is set to feature a feast of football with five of Group C's six fixtures taking place in southern Thailand. Taking to the field at Tinsulanon Stadium will be defending champions Uzbekistan, perennial contenders Korea Republic, China PR and Islamic Republic of Iran.
We have picked out four players capable of shining in Songkhla.
Seoul: Korea Republic will be without Lee Kang-in and Paik Seung-ho for their challenge in AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
The Korea Football Association announced on Monday that Valencia CF midfielder Lee (pictured above) and SV Darmstadt 98 midfielder Paik Seung-ho are not available for the tournament which also serves as the Qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
We can show we’re Asia’s best, insists Korea Republic's Lee
Seoul: Lee Dong-gyeong believes that the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 provides the perfect opportunity for Korea Republic to prove they are the best team on the Continent.
The East Asians have been one of the strongest teams in the competition over the years, finishing runners-up in 2016 and reaching the semi-finals in 2014 and 2018 but, despite always finishing in the top four sides, they have yet to lift the title.
Korea Republic will again begin the tournament as one of the favourites to be crowned champions and Ulsan Hyundai midfielder Lee is desperate for his country to claim a trophy that has so far eluded them.
Dubai: Uzbekistan continued their encouraging pre-AFC U23 Championship form, earning a 3-1 win over Iraq in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
Sherzhod Nasrullaev, Mirjakhon Mirakhmadov and Khojiakbar Alijonov were all on the scoresheet for Ljubinko Drulovic’s charges, while Munthader Sattar found the net for Iraq.
Uzbekistan’s win follows an earlier 4-2 victory over Iraq, as well as a 4-0 success against local club outfit Al Arabi, as the Central Asian side prepare to defend their Asian title in Thailand next month.
Korea Republic get set for Thailand 2020 challenge
Seoul: Korea Republic have announced a 22-man roster for the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020, leaving one spot open for the possibility of filling it with an European-based player.
In the running for the final spot are Lee Kang-in, who plays for Spanish club Valencia CF and midfielder Paik Seung-ho from German outfit SV Darmstadt 98.
Both Lee and Paik have played for the senior Korea Republic national team. Lee, 18, also starred for the U-20 national squad this year, leading Korea Republic to the final at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 and winning the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player.
Noorafkan: ‘We’re a big team with a big heart and a great dream’
Tehran: Omid Noorafkan believes desire can help the Islamic Republic of Iran achieve their dream at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 as Team Melli prepare to return to the tournament for the first time since 2016.
The midfielder skippered the Central Asians as they advanced from a qualifying group that featured Iraq, Turkmenistan and Yemen after finishing as one of the best-placed runners up in March to book their ticket to the Continental competition, which also acts as the Olympic Games qualifiers.
Four years ago in Qatar, when Olympic qualification was also on the line, Iran progressed to the quarter-finals before defeat at the hands of Japan. After missing out on the U-23 showpiece in 2018, they return looking to go at least one better this time round a give themselves a chance of appearing at Tokyo 2020.