Korea and Australia headline start of Group D

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AFC
The AFC U16 Championship will finally complete one round of group fixtures and none fitter to cap it than a clash between South Korea and Australia.

Saturday's matches involving Group D means that by the end of the day, all teams in the 2018 AFC U16 Championship would have already played and commpeted in their respective first matches. 

Afghanistan takes on Iraq in one fixture but all eyes are surely on the South Korea versus Australia match at MPPJ Stadium. A clash between the two times champions in Korea and the two times semifinalist in Australia.

The Koreans are still hurting from the 2016 tournament which caused them to miss out on the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup but have done the necessary changes required to ensure that the same scenario will not happen again.

“We’ve brought our strongest members here and these players match the team’s style of play. With respect to last year’s team we’ve changed about 30 percent of the squad. Our main focus was on competitiveness as we wanted players who always seek to better themselves and that is why we made these changes.

 “The first game is the most important and we are facing a very competitive team. After the draw was made, our focus was on the first match against Australia and we have prepared well for the game," said Korea's head coach Kim Jung Soo.

Meanwhile Australia who finished bottom of the group during the 2016 edition, are looking for make amends for their abject showing two years ago. Their head coach Trevor Brian Morgan is adamant that the team he brought will be competitive.

Morgan has been with the team for some time but has only recently taken over the main role but he's not concerned that it will impact the team as they focus on reaching the next stage of the competition.

“For the Australian team, we are looking for young boys who displayed positive football actions, have great pride in their country and are very competitive in their football. Our preparation was challenging the boys as much as possible and guiding them to the style of play we believe in."

“We come here with great desire to test ourselves against the best of Asia. Our focus is on ourselves and to improve from previous editions. This is a strong group and we are prepared for the Koreans and our target is to make the knockout stage," said Morgan.

 

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