Mixed results for East Asian sides, on first day of AFC U23 qualifying

Photo by AFC Hub

Qualifying for the Asian Football Confederations premier youth tournament the AFC U23 Championships got underway today and there were a mixed bag of results for sides from the EAFF (East Asian Football Federation). 

Big guns all stomp to victory in first match

The AFC U23 qualifying got underway today, and as expected all the big footballing nations from the EAFF had no issues in navigating their first match, such is the discrepancy between the higher and lower levels in Asian football.

And, as the draw turned out, a lot of countries we write about ended playing each other in their opening game. Japan vs Macau, North Korea vs Mongolia and South Korea vs Taiwan, as well as those games, China played against Laos and Hong Kong faced Singapore. Japan, South Korea, and China would be considered true big guns of the region, and all secured big victories. Japan and South Korea both won 8-0 while China got a 5-0 win.

Hong Kong drew 1-1 with Singapore, and  North Korea only got a 1 - 0 win against the Mongolians. So as you can see from the games, most of our teams faced each other, and all the big guns come out on top as the elite sides of Asia played what a lot of people would call football minnows.

Asian football's -  level gap

Asian football has some very good teams, in South Korea and Japan the EAFF has two of Asia's very best, however the gap between the level of the best, and the sides at the lower echelons of Asia is huge, and even though a lot of effort is being put in at closing that gap there remains a long way to go.

Until that gap starts getting narrower, we will continue to see big scorelines like 8-0 wins for Japan and South Korea. The smaller nations are working hard to improve, but improve takes time, effort and patience. When or if Asia can become more competitive, they then could become a force on the World Stage and eventually that would lead to doing better at the World Cup. The JFA (Japanese Football Association) pump loads of money into developing Asian football and with their continued help, the smaller Asian footballing nations will continue to improve, in this aspect Japan's JFA are doing brilliant work in attempting to close the gap, because even though a stronger confederation would make qualifying for a World Cup more difficult for them, they realise a more competitive Asia is also better for Japanese sides in general. So a big well done to them, because 8-0 scorelines help no one for example. We wish all the EAFF sides luck in their second qualifying matches.


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