Afghanistan advance after two group losses with Syria absent
Defeated Palestine in the round of 16 and Iran in the quarterfinals; semifinal opponent is Japan
At the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, it happened. A team that went undefeated in the men’s soccer group stage made it to the quarterfinals. One of the lucky ones is Hong Kong.
The underdogs, ranked 148th in the FIFA rankings, lost two games in the group stage and advanced to the round of 16. Here’s the story.
Hong Kong was originally placed in Group C of the tournament, competing against Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Syria. However, Afghanistan and Syria withdrew, leaving only Uzbekistan and Hong Kong in Group C. The tournament organizers did not re-draw the group. The tournament organizers didn’t rearrange the groups, and instead, Group C played out with Uzbekistan and Hong Kong facing each other twice. In the end, both Uzbekistan and Hong Kong advanced to the round of 16 regardless of the outcome of their matches.
The group stage was quite literally a warm-up. Hong Kong lost twice to Uzbekistan, 0-1 and 1-2. Then, in the round of 16, they had the good fortune to meet the underdog Palestine, winning 1-0 and advancing to the quarterfinals. Next up in the quarterfinals is Iran, who are part of the Asian triumvirate with South Korea and Japan. Iran is ranked 21st in the FIFA rankings.
However, Hong Kong pulled off an upset, defeating Iran 1-0. Although this tournament has an age limit of 24 and under, which means that the roster will be different from the A team, it was an unexpected result for Hong Kong to beat Iran and reach the quarterfinals.
But now it’s time for Hong Kong to show what they’re made of. Their quarterfinal opponent is Japan, one of the favorites to win the tournament.
“Japan has a lot of talented players,” said Hong Kong head coach Jørgen Andersen (NOR), “but if we play a little more physical, we will have a chance against a team that has a lot of young players.” Andersen was the head coach of North Korea from 2016 to 2018 before taking over the reins of K League Incheon in 2018.온라인바카라
In any case, this is the first time Hong Kong has reached the men’s soccer quarterfinals since the inaugural Asian Games in 1951, and the quarterfinals have been a whopping 65 years since 1958.
In the unlikely event that Hong Kong defeats Japan, they will meet the winner of Korea-Uzbekistan in the final.