Kuala Lumpur: Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, has wished the Continent’s four representatives – Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – good luck ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 set to kick off on Thursday, May 23.
The AFC President said: “All four teams have done well to reach the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and on behalf of the Asian football family, we wish them the very best of luck and the Asian football family have no doubts that they will do us proud.
“As underlined in the AFC’s Vision and Mission, we want to see our players shine on the biggest stages and I am confident that they will not only learn from the experience, but also stand proud with the world’s best and inspire our future generations.”
Japan, runners-up in 1999, will start the Continent’s campaign when they take on Ecuador in Group B on the opening day at the Bydgoszcz Stadium at 8:30pm (local time). The young Samurai Blue will then face Mexico on Sunday, May 26, before a potentially thrilling encounter with Italy on Wednesday, May 29.
Runners-up in 1981, Qatar will feature next on May 24 when they take on Nigeria in Group D and all eyes will be on AFC U-19 Championship 2018 top scorer Abdulrasheed Umaru whose seven goals in Indonesia helped clinch his side’s berth in Poland. The young Maroons will face Ukraine on May 27 before battling the USA on May 30.
AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018 winners, Saudi Arabia will take on FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013 Champions, France in Group E on May 25 at the Gdynia Stadium. The young Green Falcons will need to navigate past Mali and Panama in order to emulate their Round of 16 qualification in Korea Republic two years ago.
Meanwhile, Korea Republic will also begin their Poland expedition on May 25 when they line-up against Portugal. South Africa are the young Taeguk Warriors’ next opponents in Group F on May 28 before the East Asians look to repeat their famous 1-0 victory over Argentina two years ago, in a rematch between the two sides on the last day of the group stage on May 31.
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