Australian team qualified for their first Olympic men’s football tournament for 12 years with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan in the third-place playoff at the Asian Football Association (AFC) Under-23 Championships in Bangkok.
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Nicholas D’Agostino scored the winning goal in the 47th minute at Rajamangala Stadium in Thailand’s wealth. D’Agostino’s second-period strike helped the Olyroos win 1-0 AFC U23 champion Uzbekistan in the final win match at the Tokyo Olympics with Saudi Arabia and South Korea, who qualified by winning the semi-finals.
It is the first time that Australia has qualified for the Olympic men’s football tournament since Beijing 2008. However, the wait continues for Uzbekistan, which has never yet qualified for the Olympic Games. Their misery was made worse when substitute Oybek Bozorov was sent off in the 59th minute for a bad challenge. D’Agostino’s goal came when he beat several Uzbek defenders before shooting in the bottom corner.
“I can’t really put it into words at the moment, just so happy,” supposed the 21-year-old Perth Glory striker.
That was the goal we had set for ourselves to come here. The fans were incredible, they encouraged us throughout the process. Australia is the 12th team to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In addition to Saudi Arabia and South Korea, hosts from Japan, France, Germany, Romania, and Spain from Europe, New Zealand from Oceania, Egypt, from Ivory Coast and South Africa from Africa are also already guaranteed to participate in the Olympic Games.
Two teams must qualify for the South American Football Confederation Pre-Olympic tournament which is currently taking place in Colombia. Scheduling is scheduled for completion in March when the two finalists for the North American and Central Caribbean Confederation Olympic Football Qualification Championship in Guadalajara, Mexico, qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The final of the AFC Under-23 Championships is scheduled to take place tomorrow at Rajamangala Stadium. There will certainly be a new name on the trophy, as neither Saudi Arabia nor South Korea has ever won the tournament. Saudi Arabia finished second in the inaugural tournament in 2013 when it was beaten 1-0 by Iraq. South Korea reached the final in 2016, losing 3-2 to Qatar.