AFC U-20 Futsal Championship

Photo: AFC
The second edition of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship will take place in Iran, and the draw for the finals has been made, the 12 teams involved will be looking forward to the tournament.  The AFC U-20 Futsal Championship will be held in the city of Tabriz from June 14 to 22. The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

Japan will be a strong contender

Japan managed to breeze through their East Zone qualifying with relative ease, they were in a group of three alongside Macau and Hong Kong. Even before the games started they were strong contenders to top the group.

All qualifying matches were played in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital, Japan played Macau in their opening game, and put down a dominant marker on their intentions for this competition, winning the match 18-0 as they demolished East Asian football minnows, Macau.

After winning 18-0, they then only needed to get a win against Hong Kong to ensure they'd finish top of the group and qualify for the finals. They did it with minimal fuss, winning the match 4-2 to make sure the finals would involve the Japanese team.

Taiwan surprise - Hong Kong get a reprieve 

Taiwan was in the same group as the host nation for the qualifying games - Mongolia, and arch rivals China. Taiwan played their first match in the group against the hosts, which they won 3-1. Maybe the Mongolians were nervous because they looked very good when they beat China in their last match 4-1.

That meant that if Taiwan defeated China in their final game, then they would make the finals. The China vs Taiwan qualifying match was completely mental, China was leading 3-1 at one point, then Taiwan pulled it back to 3-3 so China decided to play rushy keeper (in futsal you can use an outfield player as keeper and sub the keeper off) but it backfired on China, as Taiwan managed to score a blitz of goals towards the end of the game and win the match 7-3 to ensure they take their spot in Iran.

Hong Kong is also in the finals in Iran, which shocked me a little because I was sure they were eliminated, but a bit of research and because Saudi Arabia have pulled out, presumably because Iran is hosting the tournament, with the Saudis and the Iranians not exactly seeing eye to eye it's highly likely this is the reason. Therefore, Hong Kong has now taken their place at the finals. Good news indeed for Hong Kong.

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