South Korea, Japan Eye Last Eight Berths

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: South Korea will be aiming to secure their place in the last eight of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 today when they face China in their second Group B fixture.

The 2020 champions head into the early kick-off at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium knowing that a second consecutive victory, following their opening 1-0 win against the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday at the same venue, will see likely them maintain their record as the only team to reach the knockout stage at each of the six editions of this tournament to date.

Progress to the quarter-finals will bring Hwang Sun-hong's side one step closer to a 12th Olympic Games qualification but having seen his charges break through only in added time in their opening match, the former Korea Republic international has cautioned against taking China PR lightly.

“As far as I know, China have been training for over a month and I think they have improved a lot,” said the 55-year-old, who remains the second all-time top scorer for the men's national team with 50 goals from his 103 caps.

“There are no easy opponents in the tournament and we will definitely analyse them and prepare for the next match. My tactical game plan differs from opponent to opponent, so I will continue to take that approach in the next game.”

Having seen his team fail to find the back of the net against Japan in their 1-0 defeat on Tuesday despite playing much of the match with a one-man advantage, Cheng Yaodong acknowledged that improvement is needed if they are to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stage for the first time ever.

The 56-year-old former China defender, who has been in charge of various age-group national teams since 2018, noted that his side were unable to execute their gameplan successfully against Japan and is looking for a sharper display as they hunt for only their second ever AFC U23 Asian Cup win.

“Everyone knows that Japan and Korea Republic are top class teams in Asia,” Cheng said.

“For our next game, we will continue to use our pre-planned strategies, aim to move the ball around more quickly and find chances to counter-attack."

Meanwhile, Japan will take on United Arab Emirates in other Group B match at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

Victory for the Japanese could be enough to take Oiwa's side, who are chasing the nation's eighth consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games as well as a second AFC U23 Asian Cup title, into the quarter-finals ahead of their final Group B game against South Korea.


The Peninsula

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