Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam have all qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 after reaching the semi-finals of the AFC Asian U-19 Championship. They will join the rest of the 24 participants on the Korean peninsula for kick-off on 20 May.
The Saudis secured an eighth trip to a U-20 World Cup after defeating Iraq 6-5 on penalties following a 2-2 extra-time draw. Awn Al Saluli scored the winning spot-kick after Iraq’s Safaa Hadi had his penalty saved in the seventh round. In Sunday’s other quarter-final, a second-half strike by Tran Thanh allowed Vietnam to create history by qualifying for their first-ever U-20 World Cup with a 1-0 victory over tournament hosts Bahrain.
On Monday, Japan clinched their place with a convincing 4-0 win over Tajikistan, with the 1999 runners-up booking their ninth trip to the finals, having been absent since Canada 2007. In the tournament's last quarter-final, Iran secured their first trip back to a U-20 World Cup since Argentina 2001 after Reza Jafari’s brace earned them a 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan.
In making it to the last four, the trio join the eight teams who have already booked their tickets at the global finals after Europe and Oceania’s compliment was confirmed earlier this year – not to mention hosts, the Taeguk Warriors.