Wednesday , April 17 2024

2023 AFC U-20 World Cup – Uzbekistan in Numbers!

After three weeks of non-stop action, it was the hosts Uzbekistan who were crowned AFC U20 Asian Cup champions following a narrow 1-0 victory over Iraq in the final at Bunyodkor Stadium on Saturday.

The victory capped an unbeaten campaign for the Central Asians as they also progressed to May’s FIFA U20 World Cup in Indonesia for what will be their fifth appearance at the global showpiece.

As the dust settles on a hugely successful continental competition in the Central Asian nation, highlights some of the numbers that stood out from Uzbekistan 2023.
A first title

Uzbekistan won the AFC U20 Asian Cup (formerly the AFC U-19 Championship) for the first time in their history having previously finished runners-up back in 2008 and, in doing so, they became the 16th country to win the Asian Football Confederation’s longest-running age-group competition.
World Cup-bound

The Central Asians’ reward for winning the continental competition is a place at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Indonesia in May. Four tickets were up for grabs, with the other semifinalists – Iraq, Japan and South Korea – joining the Uzbeks and hosts Indonesia, who qualify automatically, at the tournament.

Hot shot

With five goals in five games, Japan’s Naoki Kumata was the competition’s top scorer, finishing two ahead of second-placed Sung Jin-young of South Korea. The striker was also on the mark in the penalty shootout against Iraq in the semifinals, only for the East Asians to exit having twice come from behind during the 120 minutes.

Safe hands

Champions Uzbekistan were almost unbreachable at the back, conceding just one goal in six games en route to the title. With five clean sheets and three penalty saves in the semifinal shootout victory over South Korea, it’s little wonder Otabek Boymurodov picked up the Best Goalkeeper award.

Quarterfinalists Australia were the only team to score past Uzbekistan and they also ended up as the tournament’s leading scorers, thanks largely to a stunning 9-1 win over Qatar in the group stage. In total, they scored 13 goals with nine different players registering a goal.
Quick off the mark

Qatar had earlier got off to the perfect start against the Young Socceroos as Moustafa El Sayed put them in front after just a minute and 45 seconds with what was the fastest goal of the tournament. It proved to be a false dawn, however, as what followed was a match to forget.

Full house

Football fever gripped Uzbekistan as the Young White Wolves played in front of packed venues in both Tashkent and Fergana. More than 30,000 turned out in each of their five games at Bunyodkor Stadium in the Uzbek capital, with a tournament-high 33,977 present for the semifinal victory over South Korea.

MVP performance

And finally, Uzbekistan proved themselves to be the best team and it was their star midfielder, Abbosbek Fayzullaev, who was adjudged the best player. The tournament MVP opened with a stunning free-kick against Syria, netted in both of his country’s penalty shootout wins, had the joint-highest number of shots (14) and shots on target (8).

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