TASKHENT (Uzbekistan), 30 May 2022 - Asia’s brightest emerging talents will battle for continental glory when the AFC U23 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2022 kicks off on Wednesday (June 1) for the first time ever in the Central Asian region.
In a double header opener, Group A contenders Iran and 2018 third-place finishers Qatar will go head-to-head at the Bunyodkor Stadium, while Australia prepare to face Group B opponents Kuwait, who will mark their return after nine years at the Markaziy Stadium, with both matches scheduled for 6pm.
The opening day action will continue at the Pakhtakor Stadium later in the evening as host nation and 2018 champions Uzbekistan begin their Group A campaign against debutants Turkmenistan at 8:30pm before Group B challengers Jordan face 2013 winners Iraq in Qarshi at 10pm.
The Group C contests will kick off the following day when defending champions Korea Republic, who will be looking to become the first side to clinch back-to-back titles, face Malaysia at the Lokomotiv Stadium at 6pm with ASEAN rivals Thailand and Vietnam set to relive their riveting SEA Games Gold medal Final match, which concluded in favour of the Young Golden Stars in Hanoi two weeks ago, at the Bunyodkor Stadium two hours later.
Group D will see a titanic clash between 2016 champions Japan and the United Arab Emirates at the Pakhtakor Stadium at 6pm on Friday before Saudi Arabia, runners-up at the last edition in Thailand, take on debutants Tajikistan at the Lokomotiv Stadium at 8pm.
As things stand, Uzbekistan, Korea Republic, Iraq and Japan, have all been crowned champions once and will aim to secure the title for a second time. Meanwhile, the likes of Saudi Arabia and Vietnam will look to give it their all to improve their runners-up positions.