Japan's Young Guns The Toast of Asia

#AFCU23 champions Japan praised by AFC President

Japan's Young Guns The Toast of Asia.

Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, has congratulated Japan after the young Samurai Blue clinched their second AFC U23 Asian Cup™ title by defeating Uzbekistan 1-0 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Friday.

Both teams had already sealed berths at the Olympic Games by progressing to the Final, with Japan doing so for a 12th occasion while Uzbekistan created history by achieving their maiden qualification. The pair will be joined by Iraq, who are returning to the international arena for the first time in eight years after defeating Indonesia on Thursday.

The latter are now scheduled to battle in the Playoff against Guinea on May 9 in Paris as they seek to end a 68-year absence.

Shaikh Salman said: "The AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ was another breathtaking showcase of Asia's undeniable talent, which reinforced the growing trend of our emerging teams closing the gap with the Continent's traditional powerhouses.

"On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate our title-winners Japan for their consistency and capturing the imagination of the Continent and credit also goes to history-makers Uzbekistan for captivating us with their exceptional displays throughout the tournament.

"Both the Japan Football Association and Uzbekistan Football Association must be commended for their outstanding efforts, and I am confident that these latest achievements will serve as a source of immense inspiration and pride for the next generation of emerging Asian icons in the coming years."

"Together with Iraq, we know that our teams will do their utmost to make Asia proud as outlined in the AFC's Vision and Mission and we wish Indonesia the very best of success as they seek to secure their spot against Guinea next week," added the AFC President.

Taking a moment to applaud the Qatar Football Association and the Local Organising Committee, Shaikh Salman commented: "Just two months after hosting the greatest ever edition of the AFC Asian Cup, Qatar has once again shown the world their outstanding organisational capabilities and the AFC and the Asian football family joins me in expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the Qatar FA and the Qatari Authorities."

The Paris Olympics Men's Football Tournament will take place from July 24 to August 9, 2024, whilst the women's edition, which will see Australia and Japan vie for glory, will be held one day later from July 25 to August 10, 2024.

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