Australia and Japan to renew rivalry

The Australia and Japan rivalry will be renewed once again this year, following the draws for the AFC U-19 & U16 Championship 2010 Qualifying competitions over the weekend.

The Australia and Japan rivalry will be renewed once again this year, following the draws for the AFC U-19 & U16 Championship 2010 Qualifying competitions over the weekend.

The two countries were grouped together for the U19 Championship Qualifiers, along with Indonesia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong.

A total of 42 teams were slotted into seven groups of six teams each. Four groups belong to the West Asia zone and three to the East. Australia is in Group F, with Indonesia to host the qualifiers.

In the U16 Championship Qualifiers, Australia is grouped with Malaysia and Laos in Group H.

For the U19 Championship, the winner and runners-up of each group will advance to the tournament proper, which will be held next year at an as yet undecided venue. One best third-placed team from the West Zone and one best third-placed team from the East also qualify for the Finals.

Defending champions UAE, who beat Australia in the semi finals, will attempt to qualify for the finals from a tricky Group B, which also comprises Syria, Qatar, Bahrain, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

Uzbekistan, runners-up of the previous edition, will fight it out with Iran, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Maldives and Pakistan in Group D.

Two-time winners Saudi Arabia will come face to face with Iraq, who won the title in 2000, Oman, Kuwait, India and Afghanistan in a finely-balanced Group C.

Korea Republic, who have won the title a whopping 11 times, received an easy draw in Group E with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Macau and Bangladesh.

Another East Asian giant, China, who last lifted this trophy in 1985, were grouped in Group G in the company of 2006 winners DPR Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Guam and the Philippines.

The road to the AFC U16 Championship 2010 began with 45 participating teams were drawn into groups for the qualification tournament which is scheduled to start in October (venue TBA).

The winner and runner-up of each of the seven six-team groups as well as the best third-place side overall will advance to the 2010 AFC U16 Championship finals along with the country that emerges victorious from the trio contesting Group H, namely Australia, Laos and Malaysia, whom will play one another twice in the qualifying competition.

Australia will be keen on some payback against Laos when the two renew acquaintances after the Joeys failed to qualify to the 2006 competition following their goalless draw with the Laotians.

Inaugural AFC U-16 champions Saudi Arabia were the first team to be picked out of the hat and the 1985 winners were pooled in Group A along with 2008 tournament hosts Uzbekistan, Kuwait and the South Asian trio of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Defending champions Iran have been drawn in Group B with Bahrain, Lebanon, Nepal, Tajikistan and the Maldives while Korea Republic, who were denied a third title after going down 2-1 to the Iranians in Tashkent last October, will once again come face-to-face with their northern neighbours in international competition.

The two Koreas find themselves in Group G which brings them up against the ASEAN quartet of Thailand, the only South East Asian nation to have won the AFC U-16s, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Qatar, who have also won the tournament once despite reaching the final for a record six times, were drawn in Group C along with Syria, Yemen, Palestine Iraq and Bhutan while Qatar's neighbours the UAE and Oman, champions in 1996 and 2000, are in Group D with India, Turkmenistan, Jordan and Kyrgyzstan.

Two-time winners China are also taking on their neighbours after Friday-s draw placed them alongside Hong Kong and Macau with Singapore, Guam and Timor Leste completing the Group F line up.

Japan-s quest to become the first nation to claim the AFC U16 Championship for a third time begins again when the 1994 and 2006 winners come up against Indonesia, Mongolia, Chinese Taipei, Bangladesh and the Philippines in qualification Group E.

The qualification campaign is scheduled to run from October 3 to 18, with the group venues to be confirmed at a later date.


Group A - Tajikistan, Jordan, Yemen, Nepal*, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan Group B - UAE*, Syria, Qatar, Bahrain, Bhutan, Sri Lanka Group C - Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait, India, Afghanistan Group D - Uzbekistan, Iran, Lebanon, Turkmenistan, Maldives, Pakistan* Group E - Korea Republic, Thailand*, Laos, Vietnam, Macau, Bangladesh Group F - Australia, Japan, Indonesia*, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong Group G - China*, DPR Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Guam, The Philippines

* Group Hosts AFC U16 Championship 2010 - Qualifying stage draw:

Group A: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan. Group B: Iran, Bahrain, Lebanon, Nepal, Tajikistan, Maldives. Group C: Syria, Yemen, Qatar, Palestine, Iraq, Bhutan. Group D: UAE, India, Turkmenistan, Oman, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan. Group E: Japan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Chinese Taipei, Bangladesh, Philippines. Group F: China, Singapore, Guam, Hong Kong, Macau, Timor Leste. Group G: Korea Republic, Thailand, Vietnam, DPR Korea, Cambodia, Myanmar. Group H: Australia, Malaysia, Laos.