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S. Korean-coached Indonesia fall short of direct Olympic football spot

May 3, 2024 - 11:35 By Yonhap
Shin Tae-yong, the head coach of Indonesia, is reacting during the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Semi-Final match between Indonesia and Uzbekistan at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on April 29, 2024. (Gettyimages)

Coached by South Korean native Shin Tae-yong, Indonesia have just missed out on the final direct Asian berth in this year's Olympic men's football tournament.

Indonesia lost to Iraq 2-1 in extra time in the third-place match of the Asian Football Confederation U-23 Asian Cup at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha on Thursday.

This AFC tournament also serves as the final Asian qualifying tournament for the Paris Olympics, and the top three countries each earned guaranteed spots in France. Japan and Uzbekistan grabbed the first two by advancing to the final, and Iraq edged out Indonesia on Ali Jasim's 96th-minute goal to secure the third spot.

Indonesia will take one last crack in an intercontinental playoff against Guinea in Paris next Thursday.

Shin will try to send Indonesia to their first Olympics since 1956.

Shin knocked off his native South Korea in the quarterfinals, as Indonesia prevailed 11-10 on penalties and denied South Korea their 10th consecutive appearance at the Olympics.

Indonesia then lost to Uzbekistan 2-0 in the semifinals, before suffering the heartbreaker against Iraq.

Ivar Jenner put Indonesia on the board against Iraq in the 19th minute, but Iraq pulled even with Zaid Tahseen's score eight minutes later.

Then six minutes into the extra session, Jasim scored his tournament-leading fourth goal to send Iraq to the Olympics for the sixth time.

At the postmatch press conference, Shin said he was still proud of his players for their performance in Qatar.

"From the very first match here, I am sure a lot of people must have felt Indonesian football has improved," Shin said. "Our players have done an excellent job. I am confident we will continue to get better. The players' collective mindset has changed. They are far more driven than before."

Shin said the relatively shallow depth for his team meant virtually the same group of players had to keep playing knockout matches, with little time for rest in between.

"That's why we played so poorly in the second half compared to the first half," Shin said. "They're absolutely spent now. For the next two or three days, I will make sure they will get their rest and not touch the football. Then we'll work on our tactics for three or four days, and try to become the fourth Asian team to make it to the Olympics." (Yonhap)