Iraq beat Japan to reach AFC Youth Cup final
Iraq reached the final of the AFC U-20 Asian Cup by beating Japan today on penalties 5-4 after drawing 1-1 in normal time and 2-2 in extras, at a neighboring stadium in Tashkent. Iraq will meet in Saturday's final between hosts Uzbekistan and South Korea, which will be held later at Bunyodkor Stadium in the Uzbek capital.
Iraq took the lead through Ali Jassim (12), but Japan equalised late through Takakura Inaga (83). Iraq took the lead again through Mohammed Jamil (103), before Japan equalized again through Naoki Komata (118), then the penalty shootout smiled 5-4. Iraq were runners-up in their group with four points behind Uzbekistan (7), after beating Indonesia 2-0, losing to Uzbekistan 0-1 and then drawing with Syria 1-1.
In the quarter-finals, they beat Iran 1-0, then Japan in the final box. The top four teams in the tournament – Uzbekistan, South Korea, Iraq and Japan – qualified for the 20 FIFA U-2023 World Cup in Indonesia. The continental championship was launched in 1959 and is currently held every two years, and has seen South Korea win a record 12 times, while Iraq holds the title five times, most recently in 2000.