All Eyes on the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022

All eyes on the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022™ as Asia's future stars battle for supremacy

AFC U23 Cup.

Asia's brightest emerging talents will battle for Continental glory when the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022™ kicks off on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, for the first time ever in the Central Asian region.

The AFC U23 Asian Cup™ has served as a launch pad for some of the biggest icons in Asian and world football, which include Japanese and Liverpool ace Takumi Minamino, Iranians Mehdi Taremi and Alireza Beiranvand as well as AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ winner and top goal scorer Almoez Ali of Qatar, with the 2022 edition well poised to unearth a new generation of future household names.

Spread over a span of 19 days, the Continent's top 16 teams will supply thrilling action over 32 matches across four venues, three of which are in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, namely the Bunyodkor Stadium – which will stage Wednesday's opener and the final on June 19 – the Pakhtakor Stadium and Lokomotiv Stadium, as well as the Markaziy Stadium in the southern Uzbek city of Qarshi.

In a double header opener, Group A contenders Islamic Republic of Iran and 2018 third-place finishers Qatar will go head-to-head at the Bunyodkor Stadium, while Australia prepare to face Group B opponents Kuwait, who will mark their return after nine years at the Markaziy Stadium, with both matches scheduled for 6 pm.

The opening day action will continue at the Pakhtakor Stadium later in the evening as host nation and 2018 champions Uzbekistan begin their Group A campaign against debutants Turkmenistan at 8:30 pm before Group B challengers Jordan face 2013 winners Iraq in Qarshi at 10 pm.

The Group C contests will kick off the following day when defending champions Korea Republic, who will be looking to become the first side to clinch back-to-back titles, face Malaysia at the Lokomotiv Stadium at 6 pm with ASEAN rivals Thailand and Vietnam set to relive their riveting SEA Games Gold medal Final match, which concluded in favour of the Young Golden Stars in Hanoi two weeks ago, at the Bunyodkor Stadium two hours later.

Group D will see a titanic clash between 2016 champions Japan and the United Arab Emirates at the Pakhtakor Stadium at 6 pm on Friday before Saudi Arabia, runners-up at the last edition in Thailand, take on debutants Tajikistan at the Lokomotiv Stadium at 8 pm.

As things stand, Uzbekistan, Korea Republic, Iraq and Japan, have all been crowned champions once and will aim to secure the title for a second time. Meanwhile, the likes of Saudi Arabia and Vietnam will look to give it their all to improve their runners-up positions.

With the much-coveted title at stake, the fifth edition of the AFC U23 Asian Cup™, which will also see the full implementation of the Video Assistant Referee system across all matches for the second successive time, promises to thrill the Continent's passionate fans with a host of captivating encounters.

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Soccerphile.com

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