The schedule for the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup has been finalized as South Korea looks to win its first title in 63 years.
The AFC Asian Cup Organizing Committee today announced the detailed schedule for the tournament, including the times and venues of all matches. The South Korean national team, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, has been drawn in Group E alongside Bahrain, Jordan and Malaysia.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in China in July, but after China withdrew its hosting rights in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was awarded to Qatar, and the dates were pushed back to January 12-February 10, 2024.
South Korea to face Bahrain, Jordan, and Malaysia in the group stage
South Korea will open the tournament against Bahrain at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Jan. 15 (local time).
They will then play their second match against Jordan at Altumama Stadium on Jan. 20 at the same time, before closing out the group on Jan. 25 at Al-Janub Stadium against Malaysia, led by Kim Pang Gon, a star of Korean soccer in the 1990s.
The Asian Cup features 24 nations competing in six groups. The 12 first- and second-place finishers from each group and the top four third-place finishers will advance to the round of 16.
If South Korea finishes first in Group E, their Round of 16 opponent will be the second-place finisher in Group D, which includes Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, and Vietnam. If they finish second, they’ll face the winner of Group F, which includes Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, and Oman.
If they make it to the quarterfinals, they’ll be in a familiar stadium. Education City Stadium is where South Korea played all three of their group games at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and reached the round of 16.
Controversial Klinsmann, the first real test
South Korea is one of Asia’s leading soccer powers, but it has a history of underachieving at the Asian Cup. They won the inaugural edition in 1954 and 1960.
They reached the final of the 2014 tournament, losing to hosts Australia in extra-time, and were runners-up at the 2019 edition, where they were knocked out early by Qatar 0-1 in the quarterfinals.
While captain Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) has remained strong, the national team has also grown in quality, with Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) and Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) joining some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs.
The Asian Cup will also be the first test for Klinsmann, who has taken over the reins of the national team. All eyes will be on Klinsmann, who has been criticized for his so-called remote work and poor performance. 바카라사이트
“The first goal is to win the Asian Cup,” Klinsmann said at his press conference in March.
The Asian Cup final will be held at Lusail Stadium, the same stadium that hosted the final between Argentina and France at the World Cup in Qatar. It will be interesting to see if the Korean national team can lift the trophy at Lusail Stadium like Lionel Messi did in Argentina’s World Cup victory in Qatar.