Indonesian players celebrate in hotel after qualifying for Asian Cup knockouts

By Minh Khang   January 26, 2024 | 09:51 pm PT
Indonesian players went to coach Shin Tae-yong’s room to celebrate after finding out Thursday night they had advanced to the last 16 of the Asian Cup.

Oman needed to beat Kyrgyzstan to move past Indonesia in the list of best third-placed teams in the group stage and qualify for the knockout stage but only managed a 1-1 draw.

This was enough for Indonesia to progress.

Captain Asnawi Mangkualam and his teammates watched the Oman-Kyrgyzstan together at the hotel before going to the coach’s room.

Indonesia players celebrate in coach Shin Tae-yong's room after getting past Asian Cup group stage on Jan. 25, 2024. Video by Instagram/@adamalis93

There they piled on top of the South Korean coach in elation and started screaming.

With their chance of qualification depending solely on the Oman-Kyrgyzstan result, and Oman ranking much higher than Kyrgyzstan, many of the players had feared elimination and prepared to go home.

Midfielder Adam Alis had even packed his luggage.

Indonesia were in group D with Japan, Iraq and Vietnam. They lost 1-3 to Iraq and Japan and beat Vietnam 1-0. With three points and a goal difference of -3, Indonesia were the fourth best among the third-placed teams.

This is the first time Indonesia are going past the group stage after competing in the Asian Cup four times earlier (1996, 2000, 2004, 2007).

They are among two Southeast Asian teams, along with Thailand, to survive the group stage. Vietnam and Malaysia were eliminated.

In the round of 16, they play group B winner Australia on Sunday.

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