Indonesia 2023: Japan, Korea Republic Claim Asia’s Final U-20 World Cup Spots


Japan and Korea Republic have claimed Asia's last two berths at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023, seeing off Jordan and China PR respectively to follow Iraq and Uzbekistan in qualifying for the global showpiece.

With Indonesia assured of their place as hosts, the continent will have five representatives at the youth finals, which take place between 20 May and 11 June.

The East Asian duo sealed their places by progressing to the semi-finals of the AFC U-20 Asian Cup, where Japan will take on Iraq and Korea Republic face the tournament's Uzbek hosts.

The Japanese enjoyed the more comfortable route to the last four, outplaying Jordan in a last-eight tie that was settled by two goals in the space of 16 second-half minutes from Isa Sakamoto and tournament top scorer Naoki Kumata.

Sakamoto broke the deadlock with a powerful first-time finish from Sota Kitano's cutback and Kumata claimed his fourth of the tournament with a close-range header after the Jordanian keeper could only parry Kitano's initial effort.

Earlier, Korea Republic had come from a goal down to beat China PR in extra time.

The Taegeuk Warriors had fallen behind three minutes into the second half when Mutalifu Yimingkari cut inside to squeeze an effort past Kim Joonhong at the keeper's near post.

But although this was the first time they had trailed at the tournament, or even conceded a goal, the Koreans recovered their composure to equalise just 14 minutes later when Kim Yonghak slotted home from the penalty spot after seeing his shot blocked by the hand of Yang Minjie.

Kim Eunjung's side then came into their own in extra time, with Sung Jinyoung firing them ahead in 100 minutes before Choi Seokhyun all but settled the outcome five minutes later with a precise headed finish.

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