Palestinians, UAE added to Asian Games soccer draw
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Palestinian and United Arab Emirates teams have been added to an expanded soccer competition at next month’s Asian Games after missing out on the original draw.
The Asian Football Confederation announced the new format Wednesday after dispensing with a re-draw following negotiations with Indonesian organizers of the games. The Aug. 14-Sept. 1 competition will feature 26 teams in two groups of five and four groups of four. The AFC said the top two teams in each group and the four best third-place teams will advance to the second round.
The UAE team was added to Group E with defending champion South Korea, which will be led by Son Heung-min, Malaysia, Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan.
The Palestinians were added to Group A along with Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos and Taiwan.
Each country is allowed to add three overage players to its squad of under-23s.
The Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang are co-hosting the games, which feature athletes from 45 countries and regions and officially open Aug. 18.
Group A: Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos, Taiwan, Palestine.
Group B: Thailand, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Qatar
Group C: Iraq, China, East Timor, Syria.
Group D: Japan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal
Group E: South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
Group F: North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Myanmar.