Hwang Sun-Hong will join Japan, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the group stage of the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup, the final qualifier for the Paris Olympics.

South Korea has been drawn into Group B with these teams following the draw for the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup at the Wyndham Doha Hotel in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday (July 23).

Hosts Qatar and the first, second and third-place finishers from the 2022 U-23 Asian Cup – Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Japan – have been drawn in Port 1.

South Korea was drawn to Port 2 alongside Australia, Iraq and Vietnam, and was placed in Group B with top-seeded Japan, where they will open their campaign against Korea.

Hwang also faced Japan in the final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games in September/October, where the Koreans emerged as the eventual winners with a 2-1 victory.

For Hwang, the chance to avenge the pain of two years ago began in the group stage.

In the quarterfinals of last year’s U-23 Asian Cup, which featured Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), who has emerged as the nucleus of South Korea’s offense, Hwang was sent packing in a 0-3 loss to Japan.

The U-23 Asian Cup kicks off next April with 16 nations divided into four groups. The first and second-place teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals, where a knockout tournament will determine the winner.

The final three teams in the tournament will advance directly to the Olympic Games in Paris.

Fourth place means a playoff against a Confederation of African Football (CAF) member nation.

South Korea, which holds the world record for the most consecutive Olympic appearances (nine), will be looking to qualify for its 10th consecutive Olympic Games at the U-23 Asian Cup, the first since Seoul 1988.

According to the Korea Football Association, South Korea has an overall record of 18 wins, five draws and five losses at the U-23 Asian Cup, including its predecessor, the U-23 Championship.

After finishing fourth at the inaugural tournament in 2014, South Korea was runner-up at the 2016 edition.

They won their first title under Kim Hak-bum in 2020.

The Olympic soccer team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, received a confidence boost from their recent training camp in France.

After a goalless draw against Le Havre in a friendly match in the French Ligue 1 on Sept. 18, the team won 3-0 against the France U-21 team coached by Thierry Henry on Sept. 21.

“We’re in a relatively difficult group, and we can’t let our guard down,” Hwang said through the Korea Football Association, “but we’re also competitive. We will do our best to prepare and reach the final tournament.”

“The goal is obviously to qualify for the 10th consecutive Olympic Games. There will be many difficulties, but I believe in the players’ abilities and will do my best to advance together.”

“Australia, Qatar, and Jordan are all traditional powerhouses, and Qatar has the advantage of being at home,” Hwang said of the Group A teams they will face in the tournament. “Every game is a final,” he added.

“We’re only going to be able to do two training sessions, so we’re trying to figure out how to do it efficiently,” he added.

Japan, the other team in the group stage, has also been on a roll lately.

Ko Oiwa’s Japan U-22s exploded for five goals in a 5-2 friendly win over Argentina U-22s in Anbang on Aug. 18.

Meanwhile, Indonesia, led by Shin Tae-yong, have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Qatar, Australia, and Jordan. 토토사이트

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