Sunday, February 28, 2010

DPRK bound for Qatar

North Korea's win in a penalty shootout over Turkmenistan in the final of the AFC Challenge Cup means they will be among the 16 teams playing at the Asian Cup in Qatar early next year.

Both DPRK and India - as winners of the 2008 edition of the competition - have qualified for the finals and the line-up for the 2011 Asian Cup will be completed on Wednesday when the final three places are filled.

Australia, Kuwait and Oman are fighting it out for two places in Group B while Thailand, Singapore and Jordan will battle for the one place left in Group E with Iran having already progressed.

Having already qualified for the World Cup finals, DPR Korea's absence at the Asian Cup would have been something of a travesty but, despite sending a youthful squad, the country has proven that they now have the depth of talent to be able to impress at most levels within the Asian game.

The draw for the Asian Cup will be made in Doha on April 23 and the following nations have already qualified;

Qatar (as hosts)
Iraq (as defending champions)
Saudi Arabia (2007 runners-up
South Korea (2007 third-place finishers)
India (2008 AFC Challenge Cup winners)
DPR Korea (2010 AFC Challenge Cup winners)

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