AFC U-23 Championship Preview : Group A
DOHA: Ahead of the start of the AFC U23 Championship on January the 11, QFA online has decided to have a look at the teams in each individual group. The tournament, which is the second most important mens tournament for the AFC will be highlighting the best young Asian talent. The top three sides from this tournament will qualify for the Olympic Games tournament, being held in Rio.
Today we are looking at Group A which feaures hosts Qatar, Syria, Iran and China.
Qatar will look to take advantage of playing on home soil at the AFC U23 Championship as they aim to make up for the disappointment of failing to reach the inaugural edition of the tournament two years ago.
They are also boosted after winning the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship in Myanmar, with a number of that team set to feature in Qatar having already made their mark at full international level. Recently, Qatar hosted the 2015 WAFF U-23 Championship in October and finished third at the inaugural event.
Qatar have previously appeared at the Olympic Games on two occasions and made their debut in 1984 in Los Angeles as they drew with France before losing to Chile and Norway.
Qatar then reached the quarter-finals at the Barcelona Olympics before suffering a 2-0 defeat to Poland. In the group stages they beatEgypt, drew with Colombia and lost to hosts Spain.
Syria will be looking to build on their impressive quarter-final appearance at the AFC U-22 Championship two years ago after claiming maximum points in qualifying. The West Asians stormed to a 4-0 victory over hosts Bangladesh in their opening Group E qualifying encounter in Dhaka in March.
Syria were equally impressive on Matchday Two in a 4-0 win over India to setup a final day decider with Uzbekistan after the Central Asians had also recorded back-to-back wins. Syria knew a point would secure their progression to the Qatar 2016 event as winners of Group E due to a superior goal difference, but Omar Kharbin’s brace helped secured a 2-1 win.
Syria has only made one appearance at the Olympic Games at the 1980 tournament in Moscow. In the tournament they lost to both Algeria and Germany, along with a uninspiring 0-0 draw with Spain.
After claiming victory at the inaugural WAFF U-23 Championship in October in Qatar, Iran will look to take their good run of form into the AFC U23 Championship.
Iran topped Group B at the 2015 WAFF U-23 Championship after following up a 2-0 win over Bahrain with a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia, before going on to claim a 2-1 victory against Yemen in the semi-finals. Team Melli then secured a 2-0 win over Syria in the final of the regional championship ahead of their return to Qatar at the start of 2016 for the AFC U23 Championship. They will be hoping that winning on Qatari soil will help them ahead of the championships.
Iran has made three previous appearances at the Olympic Games although their last was at the 1976Montreal games. They have also after also qualified for the 1964 and 1972 tournaments.
Having exited at the group stage of the inaugural AFC U23 Championship two years ago following three successive defeats, China will be looking to put in a better performance this time out in Qatar.
The East Asians were more impressive in qualifying for the 2016 edition after claiming maximum points in topping Group J in Vientiane in March.
China raced into a three-goal lead at half-time against Mongolia before substitute Chan Hao’s second half brace secured a comfortable 5-0 win as China set the early pace in the group. A second successive 5-0 win came gainst Singapore on Matchday Two, before China claimed a 3-0 win over hosts Laos to advance to Qatar with a perfect record.
With the AFC U23 Championship also doubling as the qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games, China will look to bounce back after failing to qualify for London 2012 and secure only a third appearance in the football tournament.
China first appeared at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988, with their last as hosts in 2008 when a disappointing 1-1 draw against New Zealand in their opening Group C encounter was followed by defeats by eventual semi-finalists Belgium and Brazil.
Tickets for all the matches are available online from the Qatar Football Association website:www.qfa.qa. Whilst you can also buy tickets from both Landmark &Villagio malls from 4pm to 10pm daily, furthermore fans willbe able to buy tickets on match days at the tournament stadiums.
Ticket categories and prices:
|VIP||QR 100||QR50||QR50||QR50||QR 100|
|CAT 1||QR50||QR 30||QR 30||QR 30||QR50|
|CAT 2||QR 30||QR 10||QR 10||QR 10||QR 30|
To buy tickets, go towww.qfa.qa
For further details about the tournament, including the match schedule,log on to:http://www.the-afc.com/competition/afc-u23-championship.