Indonesia eye first Olympic qualification as U23 Asian Cup moves into quarterfinals

By AP   April 23, 2024 | 08:13 pm PT
Indonesia eye first Olympic qualification as U23 Asian Cup moves into quarterfinals
Indonesia's Komang Teguh celebrates after scoring against Australia at U23 Asian Cup group stage on April 18, 2024. Photo by AFC
Indonesia head into its quarterfinal match against South Korea at the Under-23 Asian Cup with a chance to move a step closer to their first-ever Olympic appearance.

The top three teams in the 16-nation tournament qualify automatically for the Paris Games.

Indonesia finished second in group A behind host Qatar with wins over Jordan and Australia to progress to the last eight. The quarterfinal games are on Thursday.

"The team have only reached 50% of the goal that I set. We want to be in the semifinals," said Indonesia coach Shin Tae-yong, who was in charge of South Korea at the 2018 World Cup and will now try to prevent his home nation from making a 10th straight Olympic appearance.

The successful group stage is another example of Indonesia’s resurgence in 2024. The senior national team, also coached by Shin, reached the knockout rounds of the Asian Cup in January for the first time and are close to progressing to the final stages of qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

South Korea finished top of group B, collecting a maximum nine points with a 1-0 win on Monday over Japan, which finished second. The Samurai Blue, going for an eighth straight Olympic appearance, will take on Qatar, who last appeared at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Iraq topped group C and will take on Vietnam, while defending champion Saudi Arabia meet group D winner Uzbekistan in a rematch of the 2022 final. Group play wrapped up on Tuesday.

The team that finishes fourth in the tournament will face Guinea in an Asian-African playoff in May with a place in Paris at stake.

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