Bangkok: Head coach Park Hang-seo accepted full responsibility for Vietnam’s exit from the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on Thursday as the runners-up two years ago suffered a 2-1 loss in their final Group D meeting with DPR Korea at Rajamangala Stadium.
Vietnam, who lost in the final to Uzbekistan in China in 2018, finished bottom of the group as the United Arab Emirates and Jordan advanced to the last eight while Park’s side ended the tournament with only one goal to show for their efforts across their three games.
Bangkok: With the United Arab Emirates and Jordan progressing from Group D on Thursday, the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals lineup has now been confirmed.
The successful duo join Australia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan in the last eight with a place in the competition’s semi-finals – as well the potential of moving a step nearer to sealing a place at this year’s Olympics – at stake.
With all still to play for, join the-AFC.com as we take a closer look at the teams’ journeys so far.
Bangkok: Ri Chung-gyu’s last minute penalty earned DPR Korea a 2-1 win at Rajamangala Stadium on Thursday that ensured 2018 AFC U23 Championship finalists Vietnam would not progress to the knockout rounds of the 2020 edition of the competition.
Vietnam needed to win to have any hope of taking one of the top two places in Group D of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 and took the lead through Nguyen Tien Linh 16 minutes into the game.
But a goalkeeping error by Bui Tien Dung handed DPR Korea an equaliser 11 minutes later to seriously wound Vietnam’s chances and Ri’s 90th minute penalty sealed Vietnam’s fate as DPR Korea picked up their first win of their tournament.
Group D - MD3: Table-toppers UAE joined by Jordan in quarter-finals
Buriram: UAE and Jordan shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw on Thursday as the two teams advanced to the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020, with UAE leading Group D on goal-difference.
Maciej Skorza made two changes to the side that started both previous games; introducing Mohammed Al Attas and Khaled Ebrahim for Yahia Nader and Saeed Suwaidan. Meanwhile, Mohammed Bani Atieh returned to Jordan’s starting line-up after missing the Vietnam match through injury.
One step at a time for Saudi Arabia as Olympics beckon
Bangkok: Head coach Saad Alshehri believes Saudi Arabia have achieved nothing yet despite his side securing their place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Feras Al Birakan’s 80th minute goal in a 1-0 win over regional rivals Syria - who also qualified - saw Saudi Arabia top the Group B standings and head into the next round having won two of their three group stage fixtures.
Although delighted to have guided Saudi Arabia through to the last eight, Alshehri is adamant that there is more work to be done if the West Asians are to realise their ambition of qualifying for this year’s Olympics.
Uzbekistan’s Olympic dream still alive, says delighted Drulovic
Bangkok: Head coach Ljubinko Drulovic believes Uzbekistan’s dream of qualifying for the Olympics is well and truly alive after a 2-1 defeat to Korea Republic on Wednesday still proved enough for them to qualify for the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals.
Behind to Oh Se-hun’s fifth minute goal, reigning champions Uzbekistan replied through a Bobir Abdixolikov header only for Oh to seal all three points for the Koreans courtesy of his second goal of the game with 19 minutes of the Group C encounter remaining.
While Korea Republic progressed as group winners, the result also saw second-placed Uzbekistan advance through to the knockout phase and, in the process, maintain their bid to reach this year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
Hosseinzadeh: We could have got the result we needed
Songkhla: Islamic Republic of Iran teenager Amirhossein Hosseinzadeh reflected on his side’s inability to regularly find the back of the net, after they were eliminated from the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on goal difference following a 1-0 win over China PR on Wednesday.
From 25 shots at goal, only Omid Noorafkan’s 87th minute penalty found the back of the net against Hao Wei’s side, continuing a tournament-long trend of wastefulness from an Iranian squad which showed glimpses of quality in all three matches.
Making Iran’s elimination all the more painful, second-placed Uzbekistan lost 2-1 in their simultaneous match against Korea Republic, meaning a handsome victory from Hamid Estili’s side would have sent them to the last eight.