Sixteen participants of the AFC U23 Championship 2020 learned their group opponents at next year’s competition in Thailand during the group stage draw in Bangkok on Thursday.
Hosts Thailand share Group A with Iraq, Australia and Bahrain, while Vietnam, the 2018 AFC U23 Championship runners-up, are in Group D with North Korea, Jordan and the UAE.
Group C will see 2018 champions Uzbekistan contesting against South Korea, China and Iran, while Group B consists of Qatar, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Group D is far from a ‘group of death’ for Vietnam. The team of South Korea head coach Park Hang Seo are not unfamiliar with West Asian rivals like Jordan and the UAE, even though they are both strong contenders.
Football fans and experts interviewed by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper said they have strong belief that the Golden Stars will have yet another miracle run in Thailand next year, just as they did in China in 2018.
Vietnam finished second at the 2018 edition after a 2-1 extra-time defeat to Uzbekistan in the final game in Changzhou.
The 2020 AFC U23 Championship, featuring 16 nations from across Asia, is scheduled to take place in Thailand from January 8 to 26, 2020.
The fourth edition of the championship will be played across three cities - Bangkok, Buriram and Songkhla - with the tournament kicking off on January 8, and the final to be played on January 26, according to the AFC.
Besides continental glory, 15 of the 16 teams will also be competing for places in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the top three sides will join hosts Japan as Asia's representatives next July.