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.
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.
Group C - MD3: Uzbekistan through despite defeat to Korea Republic
Bangkok: Reigning champions Uzbekistan confirmed their spot in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Wednesday despite a narrow 2-1 defeat to an already-qualified Korea Republic.
Beaten by a brace from striker Oh Se-hun, Uzbekistan nevertheless marched into the last eight on goal difference after nearest rivals Islamic Republic of Iran could only beat China PR 1-0 in the group’s other game.
The result saw Uzbekistan finish second in Group C, while Korea Republic claimed top spot following three successive victories.
Group B - MD3: Saudi Arabia top group, Syria through
Bangkok: Table-topping Saudi Arabia guaranteed their place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Wednesday courtesy of a 1-0 win over Syria who will join them in the last eight thanks to their second-place finish in Group B.
After beating Japan on Matchday One and drawing with Qatar last time out, Feras Al Birakan’s accomplished strike helped secure Saudi Arabia’s second victory of the campaign to leave them at the summit, three points clear of their West Asian rivals.
With Qatar and Japan both going home following their 1-1 draw in the group’s other game, Saudi Arabia will now meet Group A runners-up Thailand on Saturday, with Syria scheduled to meet Australia, the Group A winners, on the same day.
Bangkok: Thailand booked their place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Tuesday as Jaroensak Wonggorn’s first-half penalty laid the foundation for a 1-1 draw with Iraq which saw the Southeast Asians finish second in Group A.
While the result sent a jubilant Thailand through to the knockout phase of the Championship for the first time, it also signalled the end of Iraq’s title challenge as they exited the competition in the wake of three draws.
Akira Nishino’s charges, who qualified alongside table-topping Australia, will now meet the winners from Group B where Saudi Arabia, Syria and Qatar are all still in contention to advance.
Bangkok: Australia secured one of the two places available in the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 from Group A on Tuesday as Ramy Najjarine’s goal helped Graham Arnold’s side earn a 1-1 draw with Bahrain at Thammasat Stadium.
Mohamed Marhoon cancelled out Najjarine’s 34th minute opener with a fine free-kick in first half injury time, but it was not enough to deny the Olyroos a place in the next round or to help Bahrain towards the win they needed to stay in the competition.
The result means the Australians keep alive their hopes of a place at the Olympic Games for the first time since 2008, with the first three finishers in this year’s competition earning tickets to Tokyo 2020, while Bahrain go home.
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.