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Home » AFC U23 Asian Cup: Japan, Uzbekistan qualifies for Olympics

AFC U23 Asian Cup: Japan, Uzbekistan qualifies for Olympics

by Cy

Japan and Uzbekistan qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics after clinching the Under-23 Asian Cup final in Qatar.

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Japan, Uzbekistan head to Olympics

Japan secured their 12th straight Olympic appearance after a 2-1 win over Iraq at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

The top three Asian teams qualify automatically for the Paris Games.

First-half goals from Mao Hosoya and Ryotaro Araki ensured that the Blue Samurai maintained their record of qualifying for every Olympics since 1996.

“We will try to defend with our entire team. There is never an easy game,” said Japanese coach Go Oiwa ahead of their finals matchup with Uzbekistan.

“Every match is tough and challenging, and the game against Iraq will certainly be that. But we’ll be well prepared and we’ll do our best.”

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan beat Indonesia, 2-0, in the semifinals at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium.

This will be Uzbekistan’s first appearance at the Games since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

“It’s a very big moment in my career. But I cannot say anything (more) because it was a very emotional match, and we still have one game to prepare for,” said Uzbekistan captain Abdurauf Buriev.

“There was no pressure on me by being the captain. It gave me some additional motivation and I focused on the game and obtaining the victory.”

After a goalless first half, Husain Norchaev netted a volleyed finish in the 68th minute for the Uzbeks.

Pratama Arhan’s late own goal sealed the deal for Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan and Japan will face each other in the final on Friday to claim the Asian U-23 Cup trophy.

Meanwhile, Indonesia and Iraq will compete for the third and final Asian berth.

The loser of that game will face Guinea in a playoff in May for the final spot at the Games.

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