S. Korean men paired with Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Bahrain in Asiad football title defense

By Yonhap

Published : Jul 5, 2018 - 20:48
Updated : Jul 5, 2018 - 20:48

South Korea will take on Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Bahrain to begin their men's football title defense at this year's Asian Games.

South Korea ended up in Group E with these three countries in a draw held in Jakarta, the host of the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 Asian Games, on Thursday.

There are six groups of four nations in the men's tournament. The top two nations from those six groups, plus the four best third-seeded teams will reach the round of 16.

This image captured from the Asian Football Confederation's website on Wednes, shows the groupings for the men's football tournament at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. (Yonhap)


Men's football in the Asian Games is open to players under 23, and teams are each permitted up to three players over the limit as "wild cards."

South Korea avoided such regional rivals as Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Iran, but head coach Kim Hak-bum said he won't take any contest lightly.

"I don't think there are any easy opponents for us," he said. "We'll play every game as if it were a gold medal match."

South Korea defeated North Korea 1-0 in extra time to win gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul. It was South Korea's first Asian Games title in 28 years.

North Korea will be in Group F against Saudi Arabia, Iran and Myanmar.

The Asian Games' opening ceremony is Aug. 18, but the men's group stage will begin on Aug. 14, with the gold medal match scheduled for Sept. 1.

The South Korean women's team, which captured bronze four years ago, will face Indonesia, Taiwan and Maldives in Group A.

"Our goal is once again to win a medal," head coach Yoon Duk-yeo said. "We'll aim high as we prepare for the competition."

North Korea, which has won three of the past four gold medals, will take on China, Hong Kong and Tajikistan in Group B.

Group C only has three countries -- Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. The top three nations from Groups A and B and the top two from Group C will make up the quarterfinals.

This image captured from the Asian Football Confederation's website on Wednesday, shows the groupings for the women's football tournament at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. (Yonhap)


The women's group play will begin on Aug. 16 and the gold medal game is on Aug. 31.

(Yonhap)


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