May 21, 2024
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Tehran Times – KUALA LUMPUR, Iran football team will have a difficult task in the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup which will begin on Wednesday in Uzbekistan.

Mehdi Mahdavikia’s men will open the campaign with a match against 2018 third-place finishers Qatar at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Group A.

Iran will also play newcomers Turkmenistan and hosts Uzbekistan on June 4 and 7, respectively.

Iran played two friendly matches with Iraq U23 football team in Baghdad last week as part of the preparation for the AFC U23 Asian Cup, where they earned a 1-0 win and lost 3-1 in their second match.

“We know that we have been drawn in a tough group. Unfortunately, we just played two friendlies with Iraq and two matches against the Iranian clubs but will do our best to get the results in the tournament,” Mahdavikia said in the pre-match news conference.

The AFC U23 Asian Cup has served as a launchpad for some of the biggest icons in Asian and world football, which include Japanese and Liverpool ace Takumi Minamino, Iranians Mehdi Taremi and Alireza Beiranvand as well as AFC Asian Cup™ UAE 2019 winner and top goal scorer Almoez Ali of Qatar, with the 2022 edition well poised to unearth a new generation of future household names.

The 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup will be the 5th edition of the competition, a biennial international age-restricted football championship organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the men’s under-23 national teams of Asia.

The tournament was scheduled for Jan. 6 to 24, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and rescheduled for June 1 to 19.

 A total of 16 teams will compete in the tournament.

South Korea are the tournaments defending champions.